Welcome to Shelf Sleepers, our semi-regular guide to the best booze nobody is buying. This time: Jack Daniel's Single Barrel Barrel Proof, which is little like Classic Jack hit with the stuff they gave Captain America.
With sales north of 13 million cases, you’d be forgiven for thinking the world’s most popular whiskey label consisted only of the easy-drinking Old No. 7. But you’d still be wrong.
Five years ago, JD released a juiced-up version of Old No. 7 called Single Barrel Barrel Proof which has remained largely absent from whiskey conversations happening on Reddit, Instagram and elsewhere. That needs to change.
Single Barrel Barrel Proof (the name is not great) is bottled between 125 and 140 proof, made with the same mashbill as classic Jack (80 percent corn, 12 percent malted barley, 8 percent rye) and, by most accounts, is aged between four and seven years. I don’t like regular Jack because it’s too thin (80 proof) and, in my opinion, too naturally sweet to use as a mixer. I will grab a cheap, good rye like Old Forester’s 100 proof option or Rittenhouse over it every day of the week. Bottled at 125 proof minimum, Single Barrel Barrel Proof is the opposite of thin, and I see no reason to mix with a whiskey that sips this well.
Jack Daniel’s stans will immediately recognize the heavy banana note on the nose, palate and finish, but the increased alcohol content delivers it with a sucker punch of burnt sugar and wood tannins for greater balance. Where classic JD lacks a strong finish, the barrel proof expression erupts — walnut, banana, wood, vanilla, honey and on and on. It’s Jack on steroids.
If your opinion of Jack Daniel’s begins and ends with Old No. 7, you’re honor-bound to at the very least try the brand’s Single Barrel Barrel Proof expression. At the very least you have a slightly higher-end gift for your Jack-loving friend. Drink with ice.