What is double barrel Jack Daniel’s?

Answered by Amado Berg

Double barrel Jack Daniel's is a special release from the Jack Daniel Distillery that showcases a unique grain bill consisting of 100% malted barley. This departure from their traditional corn-based recipe offers a one-of-a-kind experience for enthusiasts. As an expert sommelier and brewer, I am particularly intrigued by this expression due to its use of malted barley, which is typically associated with whisky production.

The process of creating double barrel Jack Daniel's begins with the highest quality malted barley. Malted barley is barley that has been soaked in and allowed to germinate, which activates enzymes that convert starches into fermentable sugars. This malting process imparts unique flavors and aromas to the whiskey, contributing to its complexity.

Once the malted barley is ready, it undergoes the signature charcoal mellowing process that Jack Daniel's is known for. This involves filtering the whiskey through charcoal made from sugar maple trees, which helps remove impurities and further smooths the spirit. Charcoal mellowing is a defining characteristic of Jack Daniel's whiskey and is believed to contribute to its distinct flavor profile.

After charcoal mellowing, the whiskey is then twice barreled, adding another layer of complexity. The first barrel used is typically a new American oak barrel, which imparts rich flavors of caramel, vanilla, and oak to the whiskey. This initial aging process allows the liquid to develop and mature, absorbing the characteristics of the wood.

Once the whiskey has aged in the first barrel, it is transferred to a second barrel, often referred to as a finishing barrel. This secondary aging period allows the whiskey to interact with different wood and potentially other flavors, further enhancing its taste profile. The choice of finishing barrel can vary, ranging from that previously held or other to barrels with unique wood characteristics, such as those made from different types of oak or even alternative woods like cherry or maple.

The result of this double barreling process is a whiskey that showcases the rich flavors of malted barley, the smoothness of charcoal mellowing, and the complexity derived from aging in two different barrels. Each step in the production process contributes to the final flavor profile, creating a truly unique and exceptional American single whiskey.

In my personal experience, I have found that double barrel Jack Daniel's offers a delightful balance of malt sweetness, oak influence, and subtle nuances from the finishing barrel. The malted barley brings forth notes of toasted grain, honey, and a hint of nuttiness. The charcoal mellowing process lends a smooth and velvety texture, while the dual aging in American oak and finishing barrels adds layers of complexity with flavors like caramel, spice, and fruit.

Double barrel Jack Daniel's is a special release that showcases the Jack Daniel Distillery's experimentation with malted barley and a double barreling process. It is a testament to their commitment to crafting exceptional whiskies and offers a unique tasting experience for whiskey enthusiasts.