Whiskey distillers have always taken pride in their work, relishing the end result of their time and resource investment. The distillers at Jack Daniels in Lynchburg, TN, however, are absolute perfectionists as they control every aspect of the brewing process from protecting the water source (a natural spring that runs under the property) and the creation of the charcoal that filters the whiskey (from aged maple crates) to the barrels for aging.
This tour starts out with the ever-standard company movie then a shuttle carried us to the rickyard. After the whiskey spends its allotted time in the barrels, it slowly drips drop by drop through Maplewood charcoal which they make on-site in huge outdoor fire vents in the area known as the rickyard. Charcoal “mellowing” is what they say makes Jack Daniels different – of course, that’s in addition to their hollow cave spring and standing as the country’s oldest registered distillery.
In the charcoal mellowing room, we got our only “taste” of Jack Daniels when the vat lids were lifted a few inches to let us have a quick sniff (or two). Unfortunately, since prohibition, Jack Daniels has been produced in a completely dry county. Drive seven miles North, and you can drink all you’d like, but unless you’re an employee and are authorized to receive one free monthly bottle, you’re out of luck.
There is one exception. At the end of the tour, you have the option to buy a commemorative bottle that just happens to be filled to the brim with delicious whiskey. We bought the bottle for display, but had to pour out the alcohol in order put it on the shelf. Conveniently, we poured it over diet soda.