This whiskey was introduced in 1992 as part of the Jim Beam Small Batch Collection – it was modelled after the whiskey and recipe made by Basil Hayden, a distiller in the late 1700s. The whiskey used to carry an age statement of 8 years, but is now “artfully aged”, i.e. not as old. Likewise, it used to be a “straight” bourbon – but now no longer carries that description. This whiskey has the lowest alcohol content (40%) of any of the Jim Cream Small Batch Collection (which includes the Knob Creek line, Booker’s, and Baker’s), and is crafted to be a lighter bourbon. This bourbon is unique in that it has a higher rye content (the recipe uses about 30%), which is nearly double that of the other Jim Beam products.
This whisky, along with so many others (Templeton Rye, George Dickel Rye, Redemption Rye, Smooth Ambler, High West Rye, along with others) is not produced at the distillery of the brand name (if indeed, the brand even has a distillery) but rather at Midwest Grain Products (MGP) in Indiana where the whiskies are mashed, distilled, and aged. Their classic rye mash bill uses a recipe of 95% rye, which is very high for American straight ryes – for example, Wild Turkey Rye and Rittenhouse Rye are only 51% rye. MGP was originally owned by Seagram’s, a Canadian company, at a time when they also owned Four Roses and the yeast used is the same as the “V” yeast of four roses (as used in their Single Barrel bottling, among others). High rye whiskies are more common in Canada, but they are (unfortunately) not often seen as their own bottlings because they are usually used to flavour blends, as spices flavour food. The whisky doesn’t have an age statement, but is likely relatively young (perhaps 4-6 years).
Jack Daniel’s, the founder of this famed distillery in Tennesse, at 14 years old ran away from his stepmother and lived with his lay uncle preacher, in louse creek tennessee, where whiskey was distilled. As his uncle went to fight in the war, and he learned how to distill from a slave of his uncle, Nearest Green. Soon enough, Jack set up business for himself, moved to Cave Spring with Nearest Green’s sons. And this is where distillery still is – a county which is dry, interestingly enough – so although lots is produced there, none can be drunk there. A common misconception with this whiskey is that it uniquely uses a “sour mash” process, when in fact this is the common practice of most bourbons.