Gentleman Jack Whiskey.
Vital Stats: 80 proof; double charcoal filtered to promote a smooth drinking experience and to filter out the impurities present after the distilling process; sold for around $32 for 750 ML bottles
Color: Light amber color or fresh cut hay
Nose: The first aroma that hit me was that of banana Laffy Taffy. It also smelled of the dentist’s office when you get a fluoride treatment, which is to say sweet and antiseptic at the same time.
Palate: Very little character to start off with. Similar to the flavor of chewing on a plastic straw for a while.
Also it is a bit watery. I then felt heat on all parts of the tongue, especially the throat. That didn’t linger too long, though the most predominant flavors came through as burnt sugar, a gentle oakiness, and if you search hard enough, you will find a whisper of citrus notes.
Jack Daniel’s Gentleman Jack is a light, approachable whiskey that, while an ideal entry-level choice for sipping, may prove to be too light, smooth or boring for seasoned whiskey drinkers.
- Crafted to be easy-drinking and smooth, without a lot of burn on the finish, it’s an ideal entry-level sipping whiskey.
- The double-charcoal mellowing gives it a different, slightly sweeter and rounder flavor than Jack Daniel’s flagship Old No. 7, and many drinkers prefer Gentleman.
- One person’s “smooth” is another person’s “boring.” Fans of more flavorful American whiskeys will find that Gentleman Jack is a little too gentle.
Gentleman Jack is a product of its time, the late 1980s, when vodka was the colossus that bestrode the world of spirits and whiskey was scrambling to find a way to compete. For Jack Daniel’s, the best-selling American whiskey brand in the world, that meant lowering the proof on its signature Old No. 7 expression from 90 to 86. The goal was a lighter, smoother flavor (the proof was lowered again in 2002, from 86 to 80). In 1988, the brand took it to the next level, launching the even lighter and smoother Gentleman Jack expression.
Jack Daniel’s, and Tennessee whiskey in general, is known for its use of the Lincoln County process, in which the whiskey is filtered through maple charcoal before barreling to remove impurities and smooth out any rough edges. Gentleman Jack is essentially Old No. 7, only it has been “charcoal mellowed,” as the brand puts it, a second time before bottling, making it still cleaner and mellower but removing some flavor and color as well.
The final product feels a little anachronistic in this age of big, robust bottled-in-bond and barrel-proof whiskeys.
But there’s a reason Jack Daniel’s is the most popular whiskey in the world: A lot of people like it. And if you’re a novice or a fan of light, approachable expressions, there’s a lot to like about Gentleman Jack.
In fact, it’s more balanced than Old No. 7 itself, with vanilla, caramel and oak all in perfect harmony. And if you’re a fan of bolder higher-proof whiskeys, there are plenty of Jack Daniel’s expressions that fit the bill, starting with the excellent single barrel.
Gentleman Jack is too light and its flavor too ethereal for mixing, and it certainly doesn’t need any water or ice, as it tastes relatively watered-down straight out of the bottle.
But for a sipping whiskey that goes down easy and doesn’t require a whole lot of thought, it definitely fits the bill.