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March 2, 2023

Enjoy Unpretentious Palate’s Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Select!

Here’s who and how we selected our barrel

by Kristen Wile

Love whiskey? You’ll want to head up to Concord ABC stores to grab a few bottles of our Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Select. This barrel was picked by some of Charlotte’s top talents: mixologist Justin Hazelton, pastry chef Laney Jahkel-Parrish, and chef Alex Verica. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at how you pick a barrel, and how we selected ours.

Where to get a bottle

The Unpretentious Palate Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Select is now available in Concord ABC Stores. Find some while supplies last at the following locations:

  • 809 Church St.
  • 195 George Liles Parkway
  • 9940 Poplar Tent Rd.
  • 2940 Derita Rd.

Each bottle costs $57.95.

About our selection committee

The selection team and tour guide in front of the limestone spring that helped Jack Daniel find success. Photo by Tyler Mallams

When inviting folks to take part in this pick, we sought hospitality industry members whose palates we respect who also have a love and knowledge of whiskey. That’s how we ended up with the following, along with Jon and I:

Thank you to those who lent their taste buds to this pick!

Tasting notes

The selection of this bottle was a unanimous decision. Expect cinnamon roll on the nose with hints of Jack’s traditional banana bread aroma. Smooth on the palate, with heavy vanilla up front that moves to baking spices and oak on the finish. This whiskey went into the barrel in 2017 and was bottled in October 2022.

The selection experience

Before selecting a barrel at Jack Daniel’s, guests are invited to lunch at Miss Mary Bobo’s. You won’t find a better example of Southern hospitality. All diners are seated with a host, who ensures conversation and sweet tea flow throughout the meal. Dishes rotate; we were lucky enough to enjoy their version of Thanksgiving dinner.

From left to right: Brown-Forman Whiskey Ambassador for North Carolina Tyler Mallams, Jon Wile of Unpretentious Palate, chef Alex Verica, mixologist Justin Hazelton, and pastry chef Laney Jahkel-Parrish. Kristen Wile/UP

We followed lunch with a tour of the distillery before heading to meet Randall Fanning, who guided us through our pick. Fanning’s mind is full of memories created over decades of working at the Lynchburg distillery, and we were thrilled to hear some of them as we tasted our options.

Randall Fanning, left, and Laney Jahkel-Parrish. Kristen Wile/UP

Each of us were given a flight of three options, all simply labeled with a barrel number. We tasted each of the three, discussed, then tasted them again before eliminating one, then another. We all found the barrel we picked to have both smoothness and complexity with a fantastic nose and easy finish; it was a tough choice, but the others were overly oaky on the finish or felt a bit flat in comparison.

What is a single barrel whiskey?

Many whiskeys and bourbons feature a large number of barrels blended together. This helps create a product that is consistent in flavor despite the differences in each individual barrel. The way a whiskey tastes is influenced by many factors, including how long it aged and where in the warehouse or rickhouse it aged. Barrels on higher levels change flavor more rapidly, due to more intense temperature changes forcing the liquid in and out of the wood. Single barrels are simply that — only one barrel is used in that bottling. This barrel comes from Warehouse 308.

We tasted three single barrel offerings and selected the best to label our Unpretentious Palate pick. Kristen Wile/UP

Let us know what you think!

If you grab a bottle of this pick, let us know what you think by tagging us on social!

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