As far as coveted jobs go, Master Distiller is pretty high on the list. Although Jack Daniel’s Master Distiller just might top that. Because as Chris Fletcher will tell you, he and his team of like-minded fun and passionate people get to spend their days dreaming up new whiskey innovations and bringing them to life as new Jack Daniel’s expressions. Then they get to share them with millions of Jack’s friends around the world.
It was in this playful spirit of experimentation and that constant query of “What if?” that Chris and his team arrived at their newest expression, one that, uncharacteristically for a Jack Daniel’s product, bears no resemblance to Old No. 7.
It is an American Single Malt Whiskey featuring a 100% malted barley mash bill that is ground, fermented and distilled in Lynchburg, Tennessee and available internationally at duty-free outlets. It is Jack’s take on the timeless Single Malt tradition, aged in new, charred American oak barrels and finished in Oloroso Sherry Casks, which impart a subtle sweetness.
But while this new release may not taste like your standard Jack Daniel’s, it still shares its DNA. Jack Daniel’s American Single Malt is made the way Mr. Jack would make it – the best we can – charcoal mellowed and aged in those new white oak barrels in our beloved homeplace. From there, it goes its own way, which was very much part of the fun for Chris and team.
Crafting the recipe for American Single Malt took years of trial and error. Once they got that figured out, they needed to see what it would do in a barrel, which was a whole new ballgame without the influence of corn and rye. It took time, tweaking, and more time. So, while the product arriving on shelves may have been aged for around six years, it’s nearly a decade in the making.
On this episode of Around the Barrel, Chris returns to talk about his journey to creating the brand’s first permanent expression crafted from 100% malted barley. He offers insight into the nuances of this nutty grain, from flavor to fermentation, and how sherry casks entered the equation. Chris also shares his perspective on appealing to global tastes and the defining characteristics of Tennessee Whiskey, Bourbon and Scotch, Around the Barrel.