Is It Time to Take Jack Daniel's Whiskey Seriously?

Don't look now, but Jack Daniel's is quietly filling out a potent lineup of genuinely good whiskey.

jack daniels 10 year
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Due in large part to the ubiquity of Old No. 7, it's widely understood Jack Daniel's is the best-selling whiskey brand in the world. But in conversations with whiskey enthusiasts, the brand's massive popularity isn't seen in a positive light; it's viewed as a label designed for affordability and easy-drinking above all else, including quality. Quietly, and between a never-ending rollout of different flavored whiskeys and canned cocktails, that might be changing.

Available starting in September, Jack Daniel's latest is a 10-year Tennessee Whiskey. It's the brand's first age-stated whiskey in more than a century and the first whiskey it's ever bottled at 97 proof. The whiskey itself is classic Old No. 7 that was moved around the aging warehouse for a few additional years.

jack daniels single barrel lineup
Jack Daniel’s single barrel lineup is available around the U.S. at reasonable prices, but it’s rarely discussed among whiskey drinkers, likely because of its connection to Old No. 7.
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The 10-Year release is another step in a methodical expansion into more premium whiskey. The distillery launched its single barrel lineup in 1997 with Single Barrel Select and has since added Single Barrel Barrel Proof (one of the worst-named products in whiskey), Single Barrel 100 Proof, Single Barrel Rye and one-off limited releases like 2020's collab with country music artist Eric Church.

There are plenty of whiskey makers that balance affordable, mass market hooch with middle- and top-shelf spirits — think Evan Williams and Elijah Craig under Heaven Hill — so there's no reason the biggest whiskey brand on the planet can't pull it off, but it is interesting to consider that it may be its mass market appeal that dissuades premium whiskey drinkers from climbing aboard the bandwagon. Maybe we need a Jack Daniel's Pappy Van Winkle equivalent?

Jack Daniel's 10-Year Tennessee Whiskey will be on shelves in limited capacity in September, retailing for $70.

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