Jack Daniel’s is working quickly to get into the increasingly important rye whiskey game. Months back, they released an unaged limited-edition taste of their rye to retail, and now, it’s time for a rested version, 2 years in a barrel, still limited-edition, and still not a finished product. It’s an interesting way to ramp up a product which must age for several years before it’s finished, and it’s certainly a unique approach to marketing an aged spirit.
At $50 a bottle, Rested Rye is mostly a collector’s purchase, since it won’t be available long-term. I’m under the impression that 4 years is the goal for the final Jack Daniel’s Rye product, so this whiskey is young and brash, and everybody knows it. Other than the brashness, the flavor starts with a sweetness that’s particularly unique to Jack: like pancakes with maple syrup. The flavor ends up with a charred wood flavor that’s a touch bitter.
The rough edges of Rested Rye will be sorted out as the product ages, and I will say something I recall thinking when I tried the unaged version: this is a unique rye whiskey, particularly in the sweetness of the flavor. There’s no shortage of great ryes on the shelf, but having Jack in the game is still a very welcome addition.
Arriving in an inconspicuous box, I got to have my first taste of Jack Daniel’s Unaged Rye Whiskey, slated for a limited release in early 2013 for $50 a bottle.
This crystalline liquid is significant because Jack Daniel’s has not modified the ingredients in their whiskies for the past 100 years. Jack and its sub-brands like Gentleman Jack all contain exactly the same recipe of corn, barley, and rye, with the only difference in the varieties being their aging or filtering processes. But that changes now as the distillery has come up with an 80% rye recipe, some of which they’re bottling unaged as a “distillers run.”
Rye is a popular whiskey nowadays, and with unaged “moonshines” also on the rise, you can’t fault Jack for jumping on the bandwagon. Unaged ryes are not very common, however, especially those with the distribution level that Jack already enjoys. Drinkhacker talks about this being a stopgap and buzz-building release as the “real” Jack Rye (or whatever it’ll be called) sleeps in barrels until 2015.
As for the flavor, there’s a sweet, fruity aroma to Jack’s Unaged Rye. As wood aging imparts spice to booze, and rye itself is spicy, it’s a surprise to experience sweetness in there. There is also a pungency and grittiness to the flavor, which also tend to fade with barrel aging. Think about the difference between a silver and an aged tequila, and you get an idea what I’m talking about.
This is a rye to try as it has a huge historical significance, plus it’s a limited release.