10 Things We Learned At The Jack Daniel’s Distillery
During our recent visit to the Jack Daniel's Distillery in Lynchburg, TN, we learned what really separates the whiskey brand from others on the market, as well as the time and dedication they put into making every barrel.
1. Barrel Making
We took a quick trip down to Trinity, Alabama to visit the Jack Daniel's Cooperage to get an exclusive sneak peek behind the barrel-making process. 800 barrels are handmade daily and shipped to the distillery to be filled up with whiskey. Barrels are made with American White Oak that comes from the eastern half of the US. Each barrel is used only once and then it is sold to to other distillers around the world to age products like rum and scotch whisky.
2. The Recipe
Jack's original recipe is still used today. His mash recipe consists of 80% corn, 8% rye and 12 % malted barley.
3. The Extra Blessing
Charcoal mellowing or as the folks in Lynchburg call it, "The Extra Blessing," is what separates Jack Daniel's whiskey from everyone else. 72 ten-foot high white oak vats are densely packed with hard sugar maple charcoal that is then burned and crafted at the distillery. The process of mellowing requires the whiskey to slowly seep, drop by drop, in these vats and takes four to six days to complete. Whiskey tasters will determine when the charcoal needs to be changed based on the taste of the whiskey.
4. Cave Springs Water
The natural spring water from Cave Spring is the only water used to make Jack Daniel's. In fact, that's why he built the distillery where it is today. The limestone iron free spring water cave stays at a consistent 56 degrees.
5. The OG of Whiskeys
Jack Daniel's Distillery is the oldest registered distillery in the US.
6. Taste Matters
Unlike the saying, "It get's better with age," a barrel of whiskey can sit in the aging house anywhere between four to seven years before being bottled. The amount of time the barrels sit doesn't determine when it is ready, what matters is the taste of the whiskey.
7. Liquid Library
While most libraries are full of books, Jack Daniel's library consists of sample bottles representing every batch made within the last two years. This enables the distiller to check the original batch, if an item is returned back to the distillery. Most times, it's silly teenagers refilling their parents bottle with apple juice.
8. Can't Touch It
There are 81 aging warehouses covering 2,000 acres in the hills. The smallest warehouse holds 6,000 barrels and the largest warehouse holds 54,000 barrels. Once a barrels is placed at a warehouse, they are not to be touched until they are ready to bottle.
9. Sour Mash
Jack Daniel's is known as the "sour mash" of whiskey's because the left over mash from a previous batch of whiskey is used to start the fermentation process. The sour mash from a previous batch helps maintain consistency of the mash of the Jack Daniel's whiskey. (Its a similar process to making sourdough.)
10. Made in Lynchburg
Every single drop of Jack Daniel's whiskey is made and bottled in Lynchburg.