EPISODE 15 - Tennessee Tasters: When Innovation Meets A Time-Honored Tradition 


To make good whiskey, you have to perfect the process. At Jack Daniel’s, carefully overseeing every part of that process is hugely important to making sure that every drop of whiskey lives up to the standard that Mr. Jack set more than 150 years ago. But all that attention to detail doesn’t mean there’s not room to play around with the process from time to time while still honoring tradition – especially when it makes for good whiskey. 


With the launch of the Tennessee Tasters series, Assistant Master Distiller Chris Fletcher and the members of the Jack Daniel’s Master Taster panel have flexed their creative muscles to create a limited-release lineup of innovative and experimental whiskeys. 


Tennessee Tasters



In this episode of Around the Barrel, host Lucas Hendrickson sits down with Fletcher to learn more about the genesis of Tennessee Tasters and the Master Tasters behind it, as well as this commitment to process that makes experimentation possible. 


Tasters have always been a part of the Jack Daniel’s tradition, ensuring the quality and consistency of each bottle of Old No. 7. In the late 1990s, a Master Taster panel was formed to coincide with the release of single barrel expressions, which called for more experienced tasters. Each taster has a gift for identifying the nuances behind every batch of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey to ensure it meets the highest standards. Being a Master Taster is serious business, so, with the release of the Tennessee Tasters series, these whiskey-tasting experts get to have a little fun by putting their own twist on this world-famous product. And like most things at Jack Daniel’s, there’s usually a story behind it.


The first Tennessee Tasters expression, the High Angel’s Share Barrels, is a selection by Fletcher himself that was released in October 2018. This whiskey is derived from several barrels that had an unusually low yield, resulting in a unique and deep concentration of flavors with a dark color at 107-proof. The subsequent expressions are Smoked Hickory Finish, a fully matured whiskey finished with charred hickory staves, and Reunion Barrel, a 90-proof whiskey finished in barrels that were first used to age Jack Daniel’s, then used for a Tennessee-produced wine, and returned to the Jack Daniel Distillery to finish this specific release. 


While these three whiskeys are just the beginning of the Tennessee Tasters series, each bottle is available in limited quantity and only at the Jack Daniel Distillery and in select stores in Tennessee.  


Join us for this episode of Around the Barrel as we learn more about this lineup of experimental whiskeys and how Jack Daniel’s embraces innovation in a way that would make Mr. Jack proud


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