The Barrel Man and JD 150th Anniversary

img_1925-jpg27674726853_e601ba00fcI visited True Spirits yesterday and happened upon The Barrel Man, Kevin Sanders from Jack Daniel’s.  He was on a tour in his customized Polaris Slingshot and had made a stop at the store to sign bottles and shake hands.  After shaking his hand and watching him sign a few bottles, he handed me a free, signed bottle of Jack Daniel’s 150th Anniversary Commemorative Special Edition of Old No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey.  According to Sanders, this edition is aged in toasted oak (as opposed to charred oak) and bottled at 86º instead of the normal 80º for Old No. 7.

He then sent Greg True (proprietor of True Spirits) and I for a spin in his Slingshot and allowed me to take the picture above when we returned.  This was a lot more than I bargained for with my visit and a welcome break before returning to work after lunch.

As far as the signed bottle, I think I’ll hold on to it, which means I’ll have to acquire another one in order to taste the whiskey.  Since I’m not a fan of JD Black Label, but I do like their Barrel Proof Single Barrel offering and have a couple of batches on hand, it may be that it’s a better choice to break open. 😉

Bourbon Essentials

Glencairn GlassToday, I attended a Bourbon Essentials class offered by Total Wine & More in Dallas.  After a brief presentation on the history of bourbon and some useful information about bourbon and whiskey in general, we set out to taste 13 bourbons (listed in order of tasting):

  • Jack Daniels Black
  • Buckhorn
  • Jim Beam
  • Southshot
  • Maker’s Mark
  • Winchester
  • Weller Special Reserve
  • Watkins Select
  • Knob Creek 100
  • Old Bardstown
  • Buffalo Trace
  • Wathens Single Barrel
  • Angel’s Envy (TW selection)

For me, Angel’s Envy was easily the best of the bunch, while Buffalo Trace and Wathens Single Barrel were honorable mentions. Buffalo Trace was easily the best value. The really disappointing news was that most of these were not very good.  The only other acceptable offerings for me were: Weller Special Reserve (fourth on my list), Old Bardstown, Watkins Select, Winchester and Maker’s Mark.  I could not recommend any of the remaining whiskeys.

Prior to this class, I was only familiar with Angel’s Envy and Buffalo Trace and I still highly recommend both of them.  Beyond those, I would still recommend Evan Williams Single Barrel, Weller 12 Special Reserve or Eagle Rare 10 over Wathens Single Barrel at about the same price (actually, all of them should be a few dollars less). Another great value, if you can find it, is Evan Williams Bottled-in-Bond (White Label).