Whiskey Review: Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Tasters Selection, Reunion Barrel #1 - The Whiskey Wash

Whiskey Review: Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Tasters Selection, Reunion Barrel #1

Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by Jack Daniel’s. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review.

Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Tasters Selection is a line of limited-release experimental whiskeys, each chosen by Jack Daniel’s master tasters to deliver—according to Jack Daniel’s—unique and diverse experiences.

This line—right now there are three, High Angel’s Share, Smoked Hickory Finish, and now Reunion Barrel—is sold exclusively at their distillery and throughout Tennessee. The releases are not large—about 24,000 bottles every few months. We wrote about the first two back in January, and gave them both high marks.

Reunion Barrel, the third in the series, has been finished in red wine barrels. These were first used to age Jack Daniel’s, then to age a Tennessee-produced wine (the winemaker or varietal is not specified), and then returned to the Jack Daniel’s distillery to finish out the release. The Reunion Barrel #1 has been selected by Jack Daniel’s master distiller and master taster Jeff Arnett.

Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Tasters Selection, Reunion Barrel #1

Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Tasters Selection, Reunion Barrel #1 (image via Jack Daniels)

Tasting Notes: Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Tasters Selection, Reunion Barrel #1

Vital stats: 90 proof; produced in Tennessee; aged in new, charred oak barrels; filtered through maple charcoal before aging; about $40 for 350 ml.

Appearance: This is very deep and very rich. I tasted this and another whiskey in the same sitting, and this color is much more vibrant. It’s a reddish gold, but baked. Like the color of the outside of those thick sourdough pretzels that have been baked to a high shine. Very enticing.

Nose: There is a lot going on. Mostly sweet, but some alcohol balances it. Marshmallows. Toll House chocolate chip cookies. Marsala wine. Even a little brandy. The more alcoholic notes balance out the sweet. Oatmeal cookies. And cooked blueberries, inside a corn muffin.

Palate: It’s less sweet on the palate, and the wine aging comes across more than on the nose. I really want to like it, because it’s an experiment and I celebrate creativity in all forms. Also: It’s smooth as hell, so that’s cool. But it’s more interesting on the nose than the palate. This seems…a little flat. There’s a cherry taste but it’s more like a Luden’s cough drop than actual cherry. For $40 for 350 ml, I kind of want actual cherry, you know?

The Takeaway

Summary

This is like a car that revs up, but then doesn’t deliver. It had promise on the appearance and the nose but after tasting it, I’m not feelin’ like it gets me where I want to go. A while back, I’d reviewed the Jack Daniel’s Straight Rye, which was a delight—in Manhattans, especially. But this…I’m not sure what to do with, except give it to a big Jack Daniel’s fan. I’m afraid it’s a bit lost on me.

3
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