A Single Barrel Battle of Tennessee Whiskey

The Contenders

Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Select

The Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Select (JDSBS) features a mash bill of 80% corn, 12% barley, and 8% rye. The bottle does not have an age statement, however, it is believed to be bottled somewhere between 5 and 7 years. Our bottle of JDSBS came from barrel number 19-06825, rick number L-8, and was bottled on September 27, 2019. This selection is 94 proof/47% ABV and can be purchased at any North Carolina ABC store in the 750 ml size for $56.95 plus tax. Check out our previous review of Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Select Tennessee Whiskey for a detailed history of the company and our original tasting notes.

Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Select Tennessee Whiskey

George Dickel Hand Selected Barrel

The George Dickel Hand Selected Barrel (GDHSB) features a mash bill of 84% corn, 8% rye, and 8% malted barley. The barrel had a stated age of 9 years old and is bottled at a proof of 103/51.5% ABV. Our personal bottle of GDHSB was hand selected in 2018 for Cole Swindell and the Carolina Music Festival. This bottle, in 750 ml size, can typically be purchased at a North Carolina ABC store for $49.95 plus tax. For a detailed history of George Dickel and our review of this bottle, check out our previous posting.

George Dickel Sour Mash Whisky Hand Selected Barrel

The Blind Tasting Procedure

In order to ensure that this tasting remained entirely blind, our assistant (better known as Christian’s wife, for this particular tasting) took 4 Glencarin glasses and the 2 bottles of Tennessee whiskey out of the room. The glasses were returned to us without any identifying information that could tip us off as to what was contained within each glass. Our trusty assistant then left the room while we tasted, to make doubly sure that no accidental facial expressions could be read during the tasting and subsequent discussion. Only after the completion of the tasting and declaration of a winner, did the bottles get revealed as A and B.

The Blind Tasting

Nose

Christian: Glass A – This glass has more ethanol on the nose. Comes off as being much hotter than Glass B. A pleasant aroma of Lipton’s tea (unbrewed), caramel syrup, and a slight hint of vanilla extract. As I nose deeper I catch a very soft gentle smell of banana extract. A solid sweet smelling whiskey. Glass B – Glass B is by far the sweeter of the two noses. This glass offers the sweet aroma of freshly made banana bread in a glass. Brown sugar, a hint of banana, and caramel all are present. As I continue to nose, a very subtle dose of cloves moves forward.

Mike: Glass A – Glass A presents with a very complex nose. Aromas of fresh brewed tea, caramel, brown sugar, and sweet tobacco leaves are all present at a variety of intensity levels. Glass B – The nose on Glass B presents itself as very inviting. Warm banana bread, cloves, and brown sugar oatmeal mingle perfectly in the glass.

Mouth

Christian: Glass A – Glass A presents with a thin and soft mouth feel. As I begin to taste, my mouth is hit by a rush of oatmeal. In addition, flavors of sweet honey and a hint of butterscotch are present on the palate. As I continue to savor this pour, a light taste of smokiness from an oak char is tasted. The flavors are not what I expected based on the nose, but it is really tasty nonetheless. Glass B – Glass B also presents itself a bit thin, however, it has an oily mouth feel to it. As I continue to enjoy this pour, a taste of peanut butter becomes apparent on my mid-palate. Sweet caramel syrup, bananas, and a light hint of maple are also present.

Mike: Glass A – Glass A is very light and soft in the mouth. Honey and oatmeal emerged, followed by a smooth burn that transitions to leather and oak on the back of the tongue. Glass B – Glass B comes off as much sweeter and thinner in the mouth than Glass A. Allspice and black pepper emerge then closes with an exotic fruity essence.

Finish

Christian: Glass A – Glass A has a nice warm hug and a long finish. As the flavors dissipate, I detect a slight suggestion of black pepper, baking spices, and a dash of cinnamon on the finish. Really a nice ending to a quality pour. Glass B – Glass B really provides a considerably smoother finish. Flavors of granola, brown sugar, brewed tea, sweet oak, and banana bread linger well after finishing the pour.

Mike: Glass A – Glass A has an effortless finish with a gentle black pepper bite. As the pour begins to dissipate, a fresh minty flavor lingers. Glass B – Glass B is a very polished finish that is soft and delicate with a persistent cinnamon kick that fades into rich caramel.

Final Thoughts

Christian: Wow! This is really a toss up. Both of these Single Barrel Whiskies bring different yet enjoyable drinking experiences that make this a really hard decision. Glass A – To me, glass A brings a slightly more complex flavor profile than B. The pour definitely drinks like a higher proof. When I think of glass A, I think of a cool autumn evening on the front porch sitting in a rocking chair with your favorite sweat shirt on. The flavors and warm hug make this a great sipper when temperatures become a little chilly. Glass BGlass B is really good on its own merits. The aromas and flavors of warm freshly made banana bread are so inviting and welcoming to the drinking experience. This drinks a bit like a lower proof whiskey that allows you to enjoy in hotter months without bringing an instant sweat to your brow, however, I would have no problem enjoying it year around. My Winner: Glass B – I really like both of these. However, what fun is it if we declare a tie? So, I will give the slight edge to Glass B. To me, the welcoming and inviting nature of Glass B brings me in and begs for a second glass to be enjoyed. I love the flavors and aromas and keep coming back to it as my preferred of the two. But make no mistake, I would drink either of these on any given day given the chance.

Mike: Glass A – The nose is very complex and the mouth feel is silky. Superb pour overall. Glass B – The nose is more inviting and a very sweet mouthfeel. This pour is more one-note overall but that one note is stellar. My Winner: Glass B – Like Christian, this is virtually a toss up for me. Both pours are outstanding and either can stand alone. This was not an easy decision but Glass B just nudges a little ahead of Glass A for me. The warm banana bread baking and brown sugar oatmeal nose combined with the sweetness in the mouth and the delicate finish unite amazingly well.

Blind Taste Winner

And the winner is……

Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Select Tennessee Whiskey – Property of Rickhouse Ramblings

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