Jack Daniel's Old No.7 Tennessee Whiskey
Preface: All of us at With Coke are heavy JD drinkers, we drink it at bars, at parties even on a casual basis. While that may mean there is a certain level of bias in this review, I think it serves as a good indicator for others if JD is something they would enjoy.
So here we are through the luck of the draw and a large amount of begging, I get to bring the readers the review on our good old friend, Jack Daniel's Old No.7 himself. As Arti prepared the different samples we use for our tests I could feel thirst starting to overwhelm me as the drinking of this sweet nectar started to commence. Upon smelling the shot I was overcome with the feeling of familiarity, a warmth that only JD can provide. However to my dismay the taste was a let down, where we expected flavor we got burn and where we expected burn we got more burn. The best way I can describe my opinion is simply put by a quote I found myself yelling at the time of sampling:
I don't know why anyone would shoot Jack Daniel's!
Arti and Bubblez found my outburst quite amusing as they tried the sample for themselves. While there opinions weren't as hyperbole as mine we could all agree on the flavor not really shining through as much as we expected.
A shot just isn't what JD is meant for, while some might enjoy it the right stage for it is when it is introduced to sweet lady coke. If there was any whisky that could be labelled as "in a long term relationship" with coke it would be JD.
The Bar Test
Let me just get this out of the way, Arti would send me angry messages and complain relentlessly if I didn't mention his claim of being able to detect a "coconut" taste in JD when mixed with coke. Bubblez and I fundamentally disagree on this but if you agree with him please let us know on Twitter (@with_coke) so we can call you and him crazy.
In much the same way Absinthe and Tequila can end nights, JD is the night starter, rock up at any self respecting bar and yell a firm THREE JACK & COKES THANKS and no bartender will bat an eye or misunderstand your order. For that reason it has found it's way into the role of being our safety net, JD is there to catch us when other angry aggressive drinks have slapped us about.
JD isn't the smoothest drink you will find, however it is much smoother then it's 3rd cousin who's from your uncles 3rd marriage, Jim Beam. The best way to put it is: Jim Beam is a bumpy dirt road, it has a wild and untamed quality to it. Jack on the other hand is more like a newly asphalted road, the same wild and untamed experience is on either side of you but you aren't gritting your teeth every 10 seconds due to the bumps and tumbles of a dirt road.
Taste wise, JD really benefits from a nice cold glass with a reasonable amount of ice and perfectly chilled coke. With these things in check you will be able to really appreciate the sweetness and tangy after taste that is unique to Jack Daniels.
As I mentioned in the Bar Test section, the main appeal of this drink when going out is being able to easily and consistently order jack and coke at almost any bar. When you're at your local or in an unfamiliar area the comfort of knowing that there is no way the bartender will end up giving you some weird house bourbon that they happen to be trying to get rid of or save a few dollars on (I'm looking at you Bulleit) and if they do, you will be able to immediately notice the difference thanks to JD's unique taste that sets it apart.
If you are taking a bottle to a party, I strongly suggest buying the 1L variety rather then the 700ml, you will be shocked how quickly it disappears. I also would suggest if you find JD becoming a common staple for you and your friends increasing your mix to a 1-3 or 1-4 ratio with coke as get a lot more of the flavor with no downside.
If you are reading this site wanting to get into drinking different spirits with coke. I strongly suggest you don't start with Jack Daniels. Try maybe 3 or 4 other varieties before circling back. This will allow you to fully understand and contrast the universal taste of Jack Daniels.
A side point, the novelty barrel swing you get with the 4L bottle is much better than the normal black bars you get with other 4L varieties. My only complaint being that the edge of the swing seemed to clip the edge of the barrel making deep pours impossible.
1. Removes a lot of the initial burning, allowing the sweet taste to be highlighted that was previously hidden behind the burn.
2. Instant flavors, reminiscent of a stand night out for us.
3. The sweetness starts to give the impression of a syrup. By the time Bubblez and I got to try this one Arti had drank most of it.
4. The classic drink that you would expect to get anywhere. A crowd pleaser all around.
$38 per 700ml bottle
Standard price at Dan Murphy's Australia, prices may vary.