Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey – The Best of the Best
Given the direction that this blog is taking, I thought that it presents the perfect opportunity to bring whiskey blogging back into the fold. However, before we go in the new direction, it is important to demonstrate the problems with the “old” direction. I introduce as evidence Burt Likko’s review of Booker’s:
The alcohol was so strong when I had it neat that it burned my tongue a bit. I couldn’t really taste anything other than the alcohol when the spirit was neat and at room temperature. A couple of rocks dropped in helped considerably, and I learned later that the distiller advises this as well.
He says “strong fishing whiskey”. I say “boo fishing hoo”. Only stupid people try barrel strength whiskeys in order to experience the full intensity of the vanilla, maple, carmel, oak, alcohol and other characteristics that define high proof bourbons. The makers of Kansas Clean Distilled have it half right when they say that the problem with whiskey that it’s aged. However, the biggest problem with whiskey is that it tastes like whiskey.
Luckily, whisky producers have given my generation hope, a hope that burns inside me like a flaming shot of cognac inside the manliest of manly margaritas. Just as wine producers encountered a market of individuals that couldn’t handle the alcohol content or taste of wine and responded in kind with wine coolers, whisky producers today have the answer to our problem: flavored whiskey.
The best of these is by far Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey, a honey flavored whiskey that became the company’s best selling product shortly after hitting the fact. Even though the fact that it’s one of the best selling products in the world should be enough evidence for all of you to accept the fact it IS the best whiskey around (and I dare any of you to prove me wrong, if you can), I suppose I should make an attempt to review it.
Color and Nose
First of all, I understand why whiskey reviewers do this:
I found the color to be that of honey and the overall look translucent rather than transparent.
Can any of you see the problem here? I can. First of all, he can’t use the term honey when the label does not suggest anything about honey. Second of all, why the hell should we care about color? I mean, I don’t care about looking at the whiskey only so long as I’m looking at the shot glass as I raise it towards my mouth. What next, is he going to suggest that I actually try to smell the whiskey to get an idea of it’s wonderful characters? Does Burt not understand that if you try to put your nose into a shot glass, it gets wet? He must be a libertarian.
To sum it up, no one cares about color. We’re talking about a drink, not a painting. Advantage: Tennessee Honey
Thinning out the spirit with the water opened up the flavors so they became discernible. The opening flavor was the traditional caramel associated with the corn mash forming the foundation of all bourbon whiskies. The body is almost herbal, and the finish is smoky…
This is whiskey, not an exercise in being a pointy-headed intellectual. Do you see the problem here? In order for Burt to enjoy Booker’s, he had to “thin out” the spirit in order for all of it’s characteristics (nasty things like carmel, corn, herbs, smoke and oak) to come through. Tennessee Honey gives the drinker the advantage of already having that done for him. There is no need to mix anything up here. Burt got overwhelmed by the whiskey, but with Tennessee Honey, there is absolutely no trace of whiskey in the flavor. In order to put this to the test, I conducted a blind taste test where one glass had Tennessee Honey and the other one had my own mix of honey and molasses (with nothing else). Not a single friend of mine could tell the difference between the two.
Advantage: Tennessee Honey
I think I have done a sufficient job of presenting my case here: whiskies that taste whiskey are inferior to those that do not. Any one of you is feel free to try to convince me otherwise, but do know that my zeal for flavored whiskey makes me impervious to fact-based evidence.