Taste Test: Jack Daniel’s Highest-Proof Whiskey Ever Delivers a Burning Experience

Jack-daniels coy hill for sale

How low can the proof of your whiskey be lowered? We actually do know the answer to that question: 80 proof, or 40 percent alcohol by volume. But how far can it be pushed? There are many variables to consider in answering this question, including the proof to which it is distilled (160 for bourbon), the proof at which it is placed in the barrel (125 is the maximum), the climate where the barrels are stored, and how hungry the angels are for their share. Every bottle of Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7, the ubiquitous Tennessee whiskey that is wildly popular around the world, is cut to 80 proof, which is the bare minimum required by the distillery. Many whiskey enthusiasts, however, prefer higher proof spirits for their flavor and complexity; the less water is added, the closer it is to sipping straight from the barrel for these enthusiasts.

Bottled at 94-proof, jack daniel's single barrel select layers subtle notes of caramel and spice with bright fruit notes and sweet aromatics

Jack Daniel is aware of your presence, high-ABV enthusiasts. Coy Hill High Proof, the distillery’s brand-new 2021 Single Barrel Special Release whiskey, is the distillery’s highest-proof whiskey to date and is the distillery’s first-ever 100-proof whiskey. Because it is a single barrel product, the proof varies between 137.4 and 148.3 depending on the size of the container. Let’s be clear: that is extremely, extremely, extremely, extremely, definitely a high number. As it turned out, the sample I received exceeded that latter threshold, making it quite possibly the strongest whiskey I’ve ever encountered. Of course, high-proof whiskey does not necessarily imply high-quality whiskey, just as old whiskey does not necessarily imply high-quality whiskey. So, how does this bottle fare against the competition? jack-daniels coy hill for sale

Jack Daniel's Coy Hill High Proof Tennessee Whiskey Review

First, a few technical considerations. The barrels were aged on the top levels of the distillery’s oldest warehouses, which are located on Coy Hill (hence the name), which is the highest hill on the grounds. The distillery’s oldest warehouses date back to the 1800s. This beer uses the same mash bill as almost every other brew, consisting primarily of corn (80%), malted barley (12%), and rye (8%). The Lincoln County Process, also known as charcoal filtration before barreling, is required by law for all Tennessee whiskey and is used to filter the whiskey before barreling. The whiskey was aged for nine years, and approximately 27,000 bottles were produced from this particular batch of whiskey.

The color is the first thing you notice: it’s an intense, deep, dark chocolate amber that’s significantly darker than a regular bottle of Jack. With notes of vanilla and tropical fruit, the nose is pleasant and does not overwhelm your senses with alcohol, which is surprising given the strength of the drink. But then you take a sip and… wow. The banana and fruit flavor of Old No. 7 is nearly completely gone, replaced by a scalding wave of vanilla, caramel, brown sugar, and cinnamon Red Hots that are almost as sweet as they are spicy. This is enjoyable, but it may be best to wait and see how a little water changes things around here first. The nose becomes a little more open, and the signature banana note begins to make a reappearance. As it reaches the back of your throat, the same flavors are present, but they have been softened, and the heat has been reduced to the level of a spicy hot toddy, which is pleasant.

However, while this is a tasty whiskey, how exactly are you supposed to drink it is up in the air. I’d recommend taking it slowly and in small sips and don’t be afraid to dilute it with a splash of water or some ice if it seems too strong. Some may consider this to be a gimmick, but Jack Daniel’s master distiller Chris Fletcher does not appear to be interested in releasing gimmick whiskeys in the near future. And being able to taste Jack at such a high proof, it is possible that you will gain a better understanding of Old No. 7 because this is ultimately where the whiskey begins (albeit maybe usually not at such an extreme ABV). Rather than being cut down and combined with others to form the flagship expression, I’m glad they were left alone so that we can get a taste of it in this form. Is this going to be my evening beverage of choice? No, but it will be entertaining to open up and share with friends every now and then.

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