Everyone knows Jack Daniel's. Obviously, not on a personal level (unless you count sipping on his life's work). While Jack may be long gone, his legacy lives on in the form of a highly recognizable bottle filled with true Tennessee whiskey. Having registered with the United States government over 155 years ago in 1866 (via Distillery Trail), Jack Daniel's legendary whiskey is officially produced in the oldest working distillery in America.
If that's not impressive enough, Vinepair says that in 2021, Jack Daniel's was the best-selling whiskey in the world. Perhaps that's because this whiskey brand has a broad range of bottles and flavor profiles that are suited for multiple palates. Jack Daniel's can be drank straight, but it also works well in cocktails. There also seems to be a bottle that can accommodate any wallet. Jack Daniel's obviously know's a thing or two about the industry.
But with so many options to choose from (if you're including all of their limited and special release bottles, the count is well over 60), which one comes out on top? For sanity's sake — could you imagine reading an article reviewing all 60 plus Jack Daniel's bottles? If you could, that's dedication — only the distillery's core bottles are included, and are rated worst to best, based on overall taste, availability, and price. Unfortunately, not every bottle can be a winner, so read on to see if your favorite bottle of Jack made the cut.
16. No. 27 GoldStudio AAAcikbas/Shutterstock
While Jack Daniel's No.27 Gold actually has rather positive reviews, it's practically impossible to find anywhere, and that's one of the main reasons that this whiskey has found itself on the bottom shelf (figuratively speaking). The other reason is that it's pretty pricey, starting at around $100 and up, as reported by Wine-Searcher.
This whiskey is distilled somewhat like its cousin, No.7 (Black label) — mellowed "drop by drop through 10-feet of sugar," as stated on the website. But that's where the similarities end. To get its rich, vibrant hue, Jack Daniel's No. 27 Gold undergoes this process twice, and is twice mellowed through charcoal. The whiskey is then twice matured (seeing a trend here?) in maple barrels, instead of the usual charred oak (via Forbes). This results in the high-quality liquid gold Tennessee whiskey.
But as mentioned, you're not going to find this at your local liquor store or grocery chain. Jack Daniel's No. 27 Gold is only available at select duty-free retailers around the globe. What does duty-free mean? That' you're only going to find this precious bottle in airports, seaports, or train stations (via Investopedia). If you're lucky, you might be able to find it (for an inflated price) at some specialty alcohol outlets, but that's not really guaranteed.
15. Single Barrel 100 ProofStudio AAAcikbas/Shutterstock
If you're looking to experience the depth, intense, and rich flavor of Jack Daniel's Single Barrel 100 Proof Bottled in Bond (that's quite the title), then look no further ... than your local airport, because sorry kids. That's the only place you can find it. (Which is the main reason why this whiskey is bunking up in the bottom tier next to Jack Daniel's No. 27 Gold).
It's rare, it's complex, it's around $100 dollars, and it's pretty much flammable (which makes one wonder why it's only available at airports). Its availability (or lack thereof) is confirmed, though one reviewer on Distiller, who was gifted the bottle by a friend who picked it up in at a Duty-Free in London. When someone says "I will cherish the hell out of this bottle," it must be good, right? Not always. Some say it's overly sweet, which can make it go down easy or not at all. "I couldn't be bothered drinking the rest...the kitchen sink took one for the team." Yikes.
While it still has the signature oakey, banana, and maple syrup aroma, one Vision Viral contributor pointed out that it has an almost buttery-like finish with a hint of Hostess Cherry Pie. Not quite sure about comparing whiskey to 50 cent gas station snacks.
14. Tennessee FireNewStart/Shutterstock
It might seem like a travesty having Jack Daniel's Tennessee Fire (alias Red Label) one step up from the incredibly rare and expensive (but smooth), No.27 Gold, but spot-sharing isn't an option here. Tennessee Fire is sitting comfortably in the depths of whiskey hell, right where it belongs. This whiskey is a blend of Jack Daniel's No.7 and cinnamon liquor. The good thing is that it's made with real cinnamon. That's where it stops. One Distiller reviewer likened it to a spoon full of cinnamon-flavored syrup, added that one sip "feels like it is giving you diabetes."
Jack Daniel's Tennessee Fire retails at around $20 dollars, so maybe take that into consideration. Walmart has it priced slightly cheaper, so that's saying something (like, they can't get rid of it because it's that bad). But can you really base a rating off of price alone? Remember that taste is also being taken into consideration. Can it really be that bad? Well, as one Redditor put it, "There's a hint of caramel: Let's pluck out that one piece of corn from this turd sandwich and be happy with the find."
That being said, Jack Daniel's Tennessee Fire is probably geared more towards making cocktails or being used with mixers, and is comparable to Fireball Whiskey. So if you like Fireball, then you might want to try this cough syrup. If you really, really love cinnamon (and whiskey), then perhaps this is totally your thing.
13. Tennessee Appledarksoul72/Shutterstock
Following its fiery sister is Jack Daniel's Tennessee Apple, though nearly not as bad, since reviewers often note that it would work well in an apple martini (via Influenster). If you've ever had an apple, or caramel apple martini, you know that it being a good candidate for this mixer can mean only one thing — it's sweet. It's also interesting to note that bartenders generally loathe making this drink, as reported by Thrillist. The last thing you want to do is tick off your bartender, so maybe just stay away from this one.
While sweet can be a good thing — in moderation — too much can turn alcohol to cough syrup. Are you drinking flavored whiskey? Or are you drinking sizzurp? It's like a twisted "turn your water to wine" scenario.
Jack Daniel's Tennessee Apple (alias "Apple Jack" — how cute) has a bad reputation for smelling relatively good, but its saccharine taste sits much, much too long," (via DrinkHacker). As one reviewer on Distiller laments, it has a "super sweet cloying taste of sugar and apple candy." If you like whiskey, apple candy, and getting cavities, then you might want to try some of this juice — it retails for around $20 smackeroos (which is much less than the cost of getting a cavity filled).
12. Tennessee Straight Rye Whiskeybarinart/Shutterstock
Following the same charcoal mellowing process used in the creation of Jack Daniel's No. 27 Gold (only a single mellow, not a double), Jack Daniel's Tennessee Straight Rye is made with a 70% rye grain bill and uses water from Cave Spring Hollow, the distiller's own personal natural spring. This is supposedly one of the first new recipes created by the distillery in over 150 years, which could be a good or a bad thing. Considering this spirit is still pretty low on the totem pole, it's not looking too great at this point.
The website describes it as "undeniably spicy and complex yet sippin' smooth," while The Whiskey Shelf goes on the record stating that "rye whiskeys usually have a lot of mint, anise, and tropical fruits, but they're all completely lacking here. It just smells and tastes like young, cheap, and watered-down whiskey." Perhaps that's why this whiskey's suggested retail price is under the $20 mark.
11. Winter Jack Tennessee CiderFacebook
If you're fond of a hot toddy or apple cider, especially during the winter months, then Jack Daniel's Winter Cider (Winter Jack) could be your new BFF. With a price point in the $20 zone, Winter Jack is based on an old Jack Daniel's family recipe — even though he was never married or had kids (via Geni). Let's move away from that somber moment.
This Christmasy feeling whiskey will leave you feeling warm and fuzzy inside. It's essentially just spiked apple cider liqueur that's been blended with old reliable: Jack Daniel's No. 7 (via Spruce Eats). It's labeled as having wintry "holiday spices" — also known as "Winter Pie Spices", according to Vitamix — which usually includes cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, and clove. If you're not a pumpkin pie spice fan, then this isn't for you. Intoxicology says that this is a booze you'll either love or hate, but that, more than anything, it's like an adult version of apple cider.
Since Jack Daniel's Tennessee Apple and Tennessee Fire are both overly sweet and reminiscent of cough syrup, then this could possibly follow suit. So if Winter Jack has a pretty good rating when it comes to taste and price, what's it doing so low on the list? It's a seasonal release (via Twitter), so you can really only enjoy it for a few months during the year. Bummer.
10. Green LabelFacebook
Jack Daniel's Green Label whiskey still undergoes the same maple sugar mellowing, but the barrels the liquid spends its maturing time in are located on the lower floors and towards the center of the barrel house. According to Whiskey Advocate, the humidity is higher, which causes the booze to mature at a slower rate. JackDanielsBottles says this whiskey is only available in five states, and that the constant search for this elusive spirit is what keeps it popular. It's what Difford's Guide refers to as "value bottling," which basically means it's incredibly rare, and that people will have to a lot more green for it.
Green Label hits this mid-point on this list for its rarity. It's like a weird whiskey version of Whack-A-Mole — you never know where it'll pop up next. Perhaps if people tasted it first, they'd understand that it's not necessarily that great.
The distillery says it's a lighter color and character, which is confirmed by Whiskey Review. They say that you can taste the youthfulness, which could be the code for under-aged (you can insert your own bad alcohol-related pun here). And while it still has the caramel and vanilla flavors, the telltales banana-essence isn't as prominent. But the raw alcohol burn is. Maybe whiskey-sleuths are chasing after Green Label because the juice has a pleasant amber hue and a very faint green tinge. They're searching for something not everyone will see ... just like tourists searching for the green flash at sunset.
9. Single Barrel Ryebarinart/Shutterstock
Smack in the middle of this list is Jack Daniel's Single Barrel Rye. Now, this whiskey is pretty darn unique in that it's the distillery's first new mash recipe since 1866. That could be a really great thing. Or not. That's why it's not the worst of the bunch, but it ain't the best, either. Keep in mind that rye whiskey isn't for everyone. A Couple Cooks notes that ryes are grassy tasting, and depending on the brand, can have smoke, oak, or fruit notes. They also have a spicier finish, as in hints of pepper.
Jack Daniel's website states that its Single Barrel Rye is "grain forward" which is another way to say "could taste like oatmeal, cornbread, wheat flakes, or younger bourbons" (via Liquor.com). Another grain forward, younger bourbon is Bright Lights, Big Bourbon, and that spirit (and its predecessor) didn't fare too well with whiskey lovers. Some Redditors found it rather pleasant and a nice sip, though lacking in the sweet department, while WhiskeyFellow was more offended by the overwhelming presence of corn and the waste of $55 bucks. The promise of something new and innovative always makes you hope that this promise will be fulfilled. Maybe the distillery needed more practice runs before bottling this one up. Hey, you can't win 'em all.
8. Single Barrel 2021 Special Release Coy Hill High ProofYouTube
Coy Hill is the highest-elevated rolling hill on the Jack Daniel's property, and this high proof whiskey is named in honor of it. Ok, so Jack Daniel's Single Barrel 2021 Special Release isn't actually honoring just any rolling hill — it's also paying homage to the actual location of the barrelhouse where Jack Daniel's spirits — not ghosts — hang out and mature. This means that the barrels are left to the mercy of the elements, which actually help gives the juice character. The 2021 Special Release Coy Hill High Proof is also matured in a specific section of the barrelhouse, that's pretty noteworthy (via Bourbon Guy).
The Whiskey Wash states that for around $70.00 dollars, you, too, can be the proud owner of a Single Barrel Special Release 2021 Coy Hill High Proof — and high proof it is. This bottle clocks in at around 148 proof and is bottled "straight from the barrel with minimal filtration," as worded on its website. What that translates to is all-around burn. Nose burn, mouth burn, throat burn, hopeful not stomach burn (but that's what antacids are for). Also, because of its unnaturally high ABV, it has to be stored upright, unless you're pouring out of it.
This gets the middle of the road because of its overwhelming heat. Plus, you're basically paying for a novelty bottle and a cool story, and possibly growing some hair on your chest.
7. Old No. 7Dmitry Melnikov/Shutterstock
This is the OG (that's "old school") Jack Daniel's. Everyone knows this bottle. It's what you'll usually zone in on mid-tier at the grocery store, and what your bartender will be mixing into your whiskey sour. Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 also goes by the name Black Label. Sounds mysterious.
This whiskey is mellowed through 10 feet of sugar maple charcoal over a four to six-day span (via Spirits Review). If you're wondering, sugar maple charcoal is, according to Discover Magazine, charcoal (charred wood) that's made from, well, sugar maple trees. This process is meant to remove any impurities and smooth out (mellow) the flavor of the whiskey before it's put into aging barrels. Flaviar comments that Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 smells like bananas and Cracker Jacks. And for those of you who don't know what Cracker Jacks are, just think of it as the quintessential ballpark treat in the early to mid-1900s.
It sits perfectly in this spot because, quite frankly, reviewers think it's rather basic and boring, citing it as decent but lacking complexity, and that it's best used as a mixer. It's not going to put you back a lot of dough if you invest in a bottle, either. Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 earns this spot because it's also in pretty much every flavored or mixed whiskey that the distillery produces.
6. Gentleman JackMDV Edwards/Shutterstock
Gentleman Jack is one of the more well known brands in the Jack Daniel's family. Similar to the more expensive and rather elusive Jack Daniel's No. 27 Gold, Gentleman Jack undergoes a double run through the 10-foot sugar maple charcoal tub to ensure the taste is as smooth as the bottle. It wins this spot because of ease of availability and a decent price (around $24 to $25 dollars). What knocks it down a few notches is that reviewers are split when it comes to the taste.
It's reported that Gentleman Jack is incredibly smooth and balanced, with caramel and vanilla being the main scent contenders. The Whiskey Shelf points out that it is, indeed, smooth and balanced. But that it's also pretty nondescript and lacking character. It's basically really vanilla, and that's not the flavor they're talking about. This spirit's profile doesn't seem to sit in line with whom the real Jack Daniel's was (in other words, not boring). You can't really be a boring person if you start making moonshine as a teen, can you? (via Mint Julep Tours).
Others echo the blandness of the booze, "It's inoffensive and boring to sip neat ... I honestly don't see any reason why anyone would buy this apart from nostalgia." But one (positive) word that did seem to span across the review boards is that Gentleman Jack goes down easy (via Flaviar). Well, at least everyone can agree on something.
5. Tennessee HoneyJozef Sowa/Shutterstock
If the sugary, syrupy Jack Daniel's sweet whiskeys are reserved for the bottom of the list, what's this Tennessee Honey doing all the way up here? Well, it's modestly priced (right around the $25.00 mark), goes great in cocktails and mixers, and is also tasty as-is. Yup, as in shot form or on the rocks.
Jack Daniel's Tennessee Honey is a blended whiskey, and if you haven't picked up on it yet, is just honey liquor mixed with the globally beloved Jack Daniel's No.7 (like all the flavored mixes). What sets this sweet nectar part from its crazy siblings is that it doesn't actually taste artificial (so that already adds to its street cred). It's not overly sweet, according to Spruce Eats, and really does just taste like whiskey with a shot of honey in it.
On Reddit, many responders mention that it's really sweet, but not in a bad way. "I sat down with a glass of it. With several," someone says. Another fan compares it to marshmallows, saying it's "a really sweet alcoholic drink that should be taken only in shots. Kinda like a bag of marshmallow ... you can eat some of it, but never a whole lot at a single time."
This whiskey liquor gets a few more pegs up the booze chain because it's not only great for drinking, it's also a nice addition to food recipes, like these cupcakes by Creative Culinary.
4. Single Barrel: Barrel ProofFacebook
This is a legit, fiery, high-proof whiskey that isn't for the faint of heart (and also not for use in fire breathing because this bottle retails for around $70 dollars). What makes Jack Daniel's Single Barrel: Barrel Proof so intense is that, well, it's "bottled straight from the barrel at its full proof," as stated on the brand's website. As potent as it is — the proof can be anywhere from 125 to 140 — the flavor is still super smooth and dangerously easy to consume, and the typical Jack Daniel's oak and vanilla flavors are heightened to a new level (you know, like when you're in a dark movie theater and the smell of popcorn —and hearing the crunching — becomes overwhelming).
Whiskey Raiders called it a "banana-bomb," which still sounds like it could be a good thing, but their six out of 10 rating says otherwise. This response isn't echoed with other reviewers — one Distiller taster said that it wasn't "too hot," which they were expecting from a whiskey with this high of a proof. One Reddit reviewer even compares the flavor to maple syrup and buttered pancakes. And while it might not be for everybody, Rickhouse Ramblings says "if you have not tried this and are historically against Jack Daniel's products, I would recommend giving this one a shot."
3. Sinatra SelectDietmar Rauscher/Shutterstock
It's apparently obvious that Jack Daniel's is a whiskey you either love or hate. But no matter what, this whiskey definitely has a following. You could even liken this dedication to, oh, musicians and their fans. Speaking of musicians, do you know who was also a devoted Jack drinker? Ol' Blue Eyes himself. That's right, Frank Sinatra. With a voice as smooth as the Tennessee whiskey he so dearly loved, Sinatra referred to Jack Daniel's as "nectar of the gods," and was actually buried with a bottle of it (via Smithsonian Magazine). That's probably some of the best marketing a business can receive, right?
In honor of their most dedicated fan (and whiskey ambassador), Jack Daniel's created Sinatra Select. It's aged in special barrels (dubbed "Sinatra Barrels"), which have unique grooves carved into the interiors of the charred oak barrels. These indentations expose the whiskey to more of the oak layers and create a deep, amber hue with notes of cola, vanilla, and caramel, as reviewed on Drink Spirits. Though some claim that the grooves introduce too much of a tannic flavor, a reviewer on Distiller said that it basically made them believe in Jack Daniel's again, rating Sinatra Select a 4.5 out of five. If you're wondering why it didn't earn the "Best of" title, it's because one bottle of Sinatra Select will put you back a minimum of $150.00 dollars.
2. Single Barrel SelectTonelsonProductions/Shutterstock
While Jack Daniel's Green Label whiskeys are matured towards the middle and on the bottom levels of the barrel houses, this guy is pretty much the opposite. Jack Daniel's Single Barrel Select is bottled at 94 proof, as stated on its website. It's allowed to mature in the standard charred oak barrels, except these whiskeys are allowed to mature in the uppermost part of the barrelhouse, which is referred to as the Angel's Roost (via HappyhourWineandSpirits). The barrels are exposed to the sometimes extreme weather that the location gets, and you can taste that unique profile in this spirit.
It's a whiskey with a unique nose, as one Redditor says it smells of "brown sugar and bubblegum, which sounds like Jones Soda should be coming up with that flavor any day now. There's also mention that it does have some lingering spiciness, but not in an unpleasant, ethanol burn sort of way. RickhouseRamblings suggests adding a bit of water to it, as it brings out different nuances, like butterscotch, oatmeal, granola, and mango tea? Yes, that sounds unique.
Jack Daniel's Single Barrel Select must be touched by angels (or some kind of magic) while it's aging in the rafters because the liquid that comes from those sky-high barrels ends up being an all-around easy drink, and is also pretty affordable, starting at around $43 dollars.
1. 10 Years Old Tennessee Whiskey
This is the Jack Daniel's bottle you've been waiting for — the best of the core bottle family. Jack Daniel's 10 Years Old Tennessee Whiskey is the first whiskey to be released with an age statement in over 100 years (via Beverage Dynamics). It undergoes the exact same mellowing process that the main bottles do — getting poured through that sweet, sugar maple charcoal impurity-destroyer — and after that is where the magic begins.
This 97 proof whiskey — which is the first of its kind for the distillery — is put in the same hand-crafted charred white oak barrels in the same barrel house as the others. But as the saying goes, it's really all about location, location, location. These whiskey barrels are first placed up high in the Buzzard's Roost (it's pretty much the Angel's Roost, but the name has a bit more of an edge to it) Each location of these barrels live is exposed to different types of extreme weather, for 10 summers in a row. They're continually relocated to different levels of the barrelhouse during this time frame.
The resulting whiskey is intense and deep. It still has its banana flambé touch — as pointed out by Breaking Bourbon — but also tastes like a smokey butterscotch (via The Lane Report) and has an essence of fig, tobacco, raisin, and a pleasant spice. And according to Jack Daniel's Master Distiller, this magical juice can be yours for only $70 dollars.