Everyone has some kind of idea or experience that they associate with whiskey. Some might think of cowboys and smoky poker games in dark saloons. Others might look fondly on the memories of their grandpa sipping on some whiskey throughout a family gathering until he drank enough to start swearing at small children. Others still might remember that night in college they had an entire bottle of Southern Comfort and puked so much that they prayed for death.
It took me a while to get used to the idea that whiskey was not just for shots or for mixing with coke. Now it is one of my favorite ways to relax after a long day. Having a glass of whiskey doesn’t require the commitment to multiple drinks that opening a bottle of wine does. Gentleman Jack is the perfect after-work whiskey.
I usually drink my whiskey neat. That means it doesn’t have anything else in it. However, I usually put about a teaspoon of cold water into it because it actually opens the flavor up quite a bit. I am pretty sure this still counts as neat. Even if it doesn’t, I will continue to use that term because it is a lot easier to say than, “neat but with a teaspoon of cold water in it.”
The first thing that grabs me with Gentleman Jack is the smell of vanilla. For you science geeks like me, apparently there are thirty-some chemicals in whiskey barrels that are very similar to the chemical that we taste as vanilla. Isn’t chemistry fun?! Usually from an American whiskey such as this, I expect a good amount of smoky, leathery flavors. Gentleman Jack has this but in the background. I get a ton of sweetness at the front and then the traditional darker flavors at the back. I would guess this brand has a higher corn content than their other Jack Daniels brands. Bourbon legally has to be composed of at least 51% corn and, in my opinion, tend to be sweeter than other whiskeys. The same might be true for this whiskey, but getting Jack Daniels to divulge their recipe to me has proven quite difficult.
This whiskey is also filtered through a charcoal filtration system twice instead of only once like the standard Jack. This leads to a super clean, mellow drink that in some cases I think turned the volume down a little too low. I would like to see just a hint more spice coming through but that is just a personal preference. This whiskey is still incredibly well balanced and yet remains inexpensive enough to drink on the regular, or to mix in a delicious whiskey cocktail. And no, I do not mean with coke. I mean more like a whiskey sour or an old fashioned. I just gave myself chills…
Wine Enthusiast (yes, they review other things too) gave this stuff 96 points. That is pretty incredible given that it is under 30 bucks. You can get it anywhere so go get your hands on some. People always say that whiskey is an acquired taste. That is true to a point but you don’t get to use the, “acquired taste” argument as a cop out. It does take some time to appreciate but that is true for anything great. Beethoven isn’t immediately approachable either. Whiskey is challenging at first but the payoff is so worth it. This is a great whiskey to try even if you aren’t into whiskey. It isn’t a huge investment, it’s really well-made and it isn’t overwhelming. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to be Don Draper?