Have you ever felt guilty for acquiring something that has a very loyal fan base?
I have a been a fan of Jack Daniel’s for a long time, but I will admit that I am nowhere near squire-level fandom. Often, when I see a limited release from Jack, I leave them to the collectors and afficionados. The ones that I really try to hunt down are their Heritage Barrel releases, which have featured tons of banana bread notes that I rarely find in any other whiskey. If either of today’s whiskeys deliver on that note, I will be very pleasantly surprised. It will also justify my rationale for stealing these bottles from the true fans.
We live in an age of collectors and flippers. I also see a growing number of people living in the overlap of the two in the Venn diagram. They collect to flip and flip to collect. You see, I have also fallen victim to the pitfalls of collecting. I buy a lot of the same things I have always liked.
For review purposes, I have ventured out and purchased bottles in my preferred range of $50 and below. I have also done the occasional high-priced dabbling in premium whiskey… sometimes with pleasant surprises (like Holiday Toast & Seagrass); other times, the results are so disastrous that I choose not to write anything at all.
So, for this review I decided to be a blissfully unaware whiskey consumer. I see a big brand that I like. They release a new product that seems fun. I have no idea if this will be the first of many regular releases or a limited release. I just wanted to buy this, open it, share it, review it and be on my way. Let’s just drink it. However, I eventually learned that you should always read before you write.
First up was the Bonded. Taylor previously reviewed the travel retail incarnation of the Jack Daniel’s Bottled in Bond. With my palate in a good place, I was salivating to dive into one of my favorite categories of whiskey; Bottled in Bond. Still, I had to take nice pictures for Taylor and this article. Darn. So, in the meantime I figured I should do some research. Just a little. Darn.
My first step was to seek out the original press release where I first saw the announcement of these expressions. In the very beginning of the press release I found a lot of what I wanted to know:
“The Jack Daniel Distillery introduces Jack Daniel’s Bonded Tennessee Whiskey and Jack Daniel’s Triple Mash Blended Straight Whiskey as the first two permanent expressions in the brand’s new Bonded Series.”
I later find out that these are permanent expressions that retail for a very reasonable price ($30 for the Bonded and $33 for the Triple Mash)… so you know they will be getting an extra point in the price category from me. It also means that these will be available regularly, so I am not guilty of stealing these from true squires.
Side note: I felt that my workout routine was working but was shocked by how light these bottles seemed. I knew they were inspired by the original bottle design, but then quickly realized that these are 700 ml. The bottles themselves are beautiful, with notes like the cap showing “DSP TN-1” and a wrapper that separates nicely to leave a collar that calls out the “100 Proof” that Bottled-in-Bond is known for.
Jack Daniel’s Bonded – Review
Color: Light amber with a touch of orange.
On the nose: Warm vanilla and orange peel walk hand in hand in such synchronization that you cannot tell one from the other or what the two of them are creating together.
In the mouth: First sip is an orange peel that offers nothing in the midpalate, but finishes with an oak forward dark toast blip that fades back into that soft vanilla. An interesting ride indeed. A bigger intake produces a little more flavor, but that fruit skin approach that lulls into a soft wood finish. The orange peel doesn’t overpower this drink either. It is a flavor derived from aging in new oak and not one that was forced by a finished barrel. It doesn’t have the candy-like power that some finshes force upon young whiskey.
A $30 whiskey shouldn’t taste like this. There is a refinement and restraint in this 100 proof bottle that a “craft” distiller would shout about from the mountain tops and charge you double for. It is for that reason I am bumping my score up one notch.
Jack Daniel’s Triple Mash – Review
Color: I originally thought this one was a shade lighter than bonded but felt the red label was throwing me off. Side by side in a glass it looks a shade darker to me now. Perhaps two shades darker than Bonded.
On the nose: Rain-soaked oak that is begging for a breather. The rain has been non-stop. The bark has been darkened and as you pass by the tree it begs for fresh air. If you are a fan of Petrichor you will spend quite a bit of time with this one.
In the mouth: Corn and Rye are ushered to the dance floor by their matchmaker malt here. The corn shows first and, as it goes to the background, you never lose sight of it. The rye has been impeccably dressed by malt. At times it can taste like a dill soup on the finish, but take in enough and rye spice dances gleefully.
Bottled in Bond is my favorite category of whiskey, and this expression combines three solid whiskies for quite the $33 delight. This one also gets that bump up for the price. I know that sometimes economies of scale will afford big brands the opportunity to have low priced whiskey that will score higher at Malt, but it is what it is. Yes, it comes from the biggest American whiskey brand in the world, and for some that feels like endorsing a behemoth that needs no such accolades… but here it is well deserved. Darn.
Such a fantastic review, Matt, well done! After having them side by side I completely agree with you that the Triple Mash is a slight step up from the typical Bonded (which I’m sure will attract slightly more squires). That said, I have my worries about the impending influx of 700ml bottles and so I’m glad you made note of that here. Watch this space for more spilled ink on the subject!
Triple Mash should be better , there is 60% rye in it.
Jack’s rye at higher proof is amazing, I enjoyed the travel exclusive Tennessee travelers Bold &Spicy straight rye at 107 proof , it is 9/10, no 10 ’cause the price is not that affordable for a 500 ml bottle/30 euros .
Thanks for the comment and the callout on the travelers exclusives. there is a huge line of Jack exclusives and I think we see more coming with no signs of slowing down. Now I have to track down this Tennessee Traveler!
Looking forward to see what is next for Bonded series, maybe a bonded rye/Tennessee malt with an age statement (although 4 YO as per bond rules is not bad at all).
I have enjoyed the B.I.B. Jack 1 liter for some time now (since 2020) from the airport store.
For them travelers Jack has some very nice things available.