Review: Jack Daniel’s New 12-Year Release Is a Bold Reinvention of the Brand

A new line of age-statement expressions brings out some surprising tasting notes

March 27, 2023 5:58 am
Jack Daniel's 10- and 12-Year Bottles
Better with age? The new Jack Daniel's expressions offer more complex flavors.
Jack Daniel's

What we’re drinking: Jack Daniel’s 10-Years Old (Batch 2) and 12-Years Old Tennessee Whiskey

Where they’re from: The venerable Lynchburg, TN whiskey brand, founded in 1866, is best known for its No. 7 bottle and charcoal mellowing process. And, increasingly, some novel experiments and some age statement products.

Why we’re drinking these: The 10 and 12 are the latest limited releases in the Jack Daniel’s Aged Series, which launched last summer with the brand’s first 10-year aged-stated whiskey in more than 100 years.

So it’s not a new idea, but it is one that’s taken a while to revive. “Jack Daniel himself had age statements up to 21 years old when he was running around Lynchburg,” says Master Distiller Chris Fletcher. 

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According to Fletcher, every year his team targets about a thousand barrels they want to hold back and, surprisingly, move around. “We typically don’t move barrels at all,” Fletcher admits. Here, the barrels started on the top floor of the rickhouses and then, at about eight years, they’re relocated.

Of note, his new 10 Year hails from completely separate batches, production dates and barrel houses than last year’s limited edition release. This brings up another point: While limited, Fletcher says he hopes both the 10 and 12 will be annual releases.

How they taste: Both expressions feature the standard JD grain bill of 80% corn, 12% malted barley and 8% rye, and both are charcoal mellowed before aging in new, toasted and charred American white oak barrels.

  • Jack Daniel’s 12-Year-Old Tennessee Whiskey (107 proof, 53.5% abv):  More molasses and brown sugar on the nose, this one has a creamy mouthfeel and is full of blackberry and raspberry fruitiness. A hint of smoke from the wood adds to a profile I’d call campfire dessert. Delicious.
  • Jack Daniel’s 10-Year-Old Tennessee Whiskey Batch 2 (97 proof, 48.5% abv):  Dried fruit on the nose, with some decidedly intense cocoa notes on the palate, a fair amount of oak, a hint of tobacco and a slight astringency. It’s a burly one, but with enough sweetness to temper the wood.

Fun fact: Jack Daniel’s recently claimed a rubber dog toy that imitates their product could be mistaken for an actual bottle of their Tennessee whiskey. And yes, they actually took this argument to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Where to buy: The bottles are available nationwide this month in 700 mL bottles for suggested retail prices of $80 for the 12 and $70 for the 10.


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