Jack Daniel’s hasn’t created a new recipe for a long time. But after tasting their new Rye release, we can say the wait has been worth it. The new bottle, out this fall, is likely going to become a modestly priced go-to for your rye-wary friends, and a staple in the bartending scene.
For 150 years, Jack Daniel’s has been a major player in the whiskey world, often mentoring new whiskey drinkers into the vast world of barrel-aged brown spirits with its famous Tennessee whiskey, an iconic recipe comprised of 80 percent corn, 12 percent malted barley, and 8 percent rye. That grain is sour-mashed, distilled, filtered through sugar maple charcoal, and barreled for a number of years.
New products over the last few decades have simply tweaked the final presentation of that recipe. Gentleman Jack is filtered through sugar maple charcoal a second time before bottling, to further mellow the whiskey. Single Barrel isn’t cut with water, and the barrels selected are typically more aggressive and bold, so what you get is essentially a Jack on steroids.
But for Jack Daniel’s Rye, the distillers have essentially reversed the corn and rye components. Rye will be comprised of 18 percent corn and 70 percent rye. It’s an unusual recipe, as most rye whiskies are either closer to 51 percent rye or over 90 percent. Last year, Jack Daniel’s released some single barrels as sort of a soft opening for the product, but this year’s 90-proof release is far less limited in scope.
With the sugar-maple filtering, it becomes a unique bottle. It still smacks of rye flavors, but that infamous back-of-the-throat tingle has been significantly reduced. We found it to be flavor forward, with a substantial mellow finish compared to something like Willet or E.H. Taylor.
We talked with Master Distiller Jeff Arnett about positioning the bottle in a large whiskey market, and though he acknowledged that it’s a good gateway rye whiskey for beginners, the company expects this to be a favorite in the bartending community. “Our goal with Tennessee Rye,” he explained later in a press release, “was to create a versatile whiskey with a balance of flavors that can be enjoyed neat, on the rocks, or mixed in a classic American whiskey cocktail.”
We’ve already seen that in action, and have been pleased with the results. You’ll have to wait until this October. (Sorry.)