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As we discussed recently, the last rye whiskey that Jack Daniel’s released was not the distillery’s best effort due to the toasted oak barrel finish it received but did not deserve. But some good news arrived this week on the Tennessee rye whiskey front, with the launch of the new Jack Daniel’s Bonded Rye Whiskey, and we have the details to share.
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First of all, a reminder about what the bottled-in-bond designation means: The whiskey is the product of one distiller and one distilling season, at least four years old, and bottled at exactly 100 proof. Jack Daniel’s released two bonded whiskeys in 2022—a Tennessee whiskey that is basically a higher proof version of its Old No. 7, and Triple Mash which is a blend of BIB rye, Tennessee, and malt whiskeys. Rye whiskey, according to U.S. law, must be made from a mash bill of at least 51 percent rye. Jack Daniel’s first released a rye back in 2017 with a mash bill of 70 percent rye, 18 percent corn, and 12 percent malted barley, which is a higher rye proportion than many Kentucky rye whiskeys but less than the 95 percent rye many brands source from MGP in Indiana.
Bonded rye was the core whiskey in the Triple Mash blend, according to master distiller Chris Fletcher, but this is the first time it has been featured on its own. “The Bottled-in-Bond designation on Jack Daniel’s Bonded Rye is another stamp of quality, assuring consumers that every drop of our whiskey is made right here in Lynchburg at the Jack Daniel Distillery with the highest standards possible,” he said in a statement. On a recent Zoom call, he elaborated on that by saying that he believes the BIB designation is perhaps more important now than it has ever been because of that fact—it’s an indicator that the whiskey comes from Jack Daniel’s and Jack Daniel’s alone.
This inauguaral Bonded Rye release was distilled in spring of 2016, bottled at about seven years old, aged in new charred oak barrels, and filtered through charcoal before maturation (part of the Lincoln County process that defines Tennessee whiskey). The result is a very nice rye with balanced notes of spice, fruit, vanilla, and oak. Still present are the traces of those classic Jack Daniel’s banana bread and apple cake flavors (the result of the same yeast strain being used for all of the whiskeys), but this is much less sweet than Old No. 7, as you would expect from a rye.
At 100 proof, Bonded Rye would be a great choice for any classic rye whiskey cocktail because it has enough heat to stand up to any other ingredients—and according to Fletcher, that was indeed part of the reason for this release. Also of note, the regular Jack Daniel’s rye whiskey is being discontinued and will be replaced going forward by this BIB version, so grab a bottle now if you want to compare the two. Fletcher says there could be more expressions added to the BIB lineup in the future, but that remains to be seen. You can currently find the new Bonded Rye available to purchase online from retailers like Total Wine.
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