Founded 1875 (or 1863, depending on who you ask), in Lynchburg, Tennessee, where it’s still headquartered, Jack Daniel’s is the best selling brand of whiskey in the world. Its founder and namesake, Jasper “Jack” Newton Daniel, started experimenting with making whiskey when he was young. He took over the local preacher’s distillery in 1884, and the signature square bottled Tennessee whiskey has grown in popularity ever since.
A 2013 state law requires whiskey marketed as “Tennessee whiskey” to be, like bourbon, at least 51 percent corn and aged in never-used charred oak barrels. Additionally, Tennessee whiskey must be filtered through charcoal and stored in Tennessee. The passage of this law, supported strongly by Jack Daniel’s, was controversial: some competing distilleries felt that the law was modeled specifically to fit the Jack Daniel’s distilling process. In 2014 an effort to repeal the law failed. Jeff Arnett, the master distiller at Jack Daniel’s, said of the Tennessee whiskey controversy this past year: “I would love to stop debating it and get back to making it.”
The whiskey we review today is Jack Daniel’s Green Label Tennessee Whiskey. Their green label bottle is a bit more difficult to find, and is lighter and less mature than the standard black label.
Type: Tennessee Whiskey
Color: Light Bronze
Aroma: Vanilla, charcoal, burnt toast, cereal, sulphury
Palate: Initial vanilla. Cereal and sulphur throughout. Short finish.
Andrew: The first thing I noticed was the unusual aroma: not being a bourbon, there was no strong honey notes, and instead there was a mix of cereals and sulphurs. The taste was mild and simple, and while the finish was short it had a notable lack of any harsh spices. Overall I was very happy with the Jack Daniel’s Green Label and would certainly consider it as a base for whiskey cocktails.
Michael: Green label has become a personal favorite of mine for cocktails. It has enough taste to provide a strong foundation for a mixed drink without utterly dominating the other flavors present. That is a hard combination to find in reasonably priced whiskies. A lot of people consider Green Label to be a cheap imitation of the “real thing” or Black Label, but in my humble opinion these folks have no idea what they’re talking about. Just because Green Label does not grab ahold of your tongue and drag it around a coal mine for a mile and a half does not mean that it is doing you a disservice. I am quite happy to have found Green Label in Pittsburgh and will almost certainly purchase it again.
Verdict: Mars, the 5th level of Paradiso.