Home Distilleries Review: Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Special Release 2020 – Barrel Proof Rye

Review: Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Special Release 2020 – Barrel Proof Rye

by Chris Perugini

It’s easy for someone getting into whiskey to associate Jack Daniel’s with their flagship “Old No. 7” whiskey and overlook the brand’s other offerings. If this sounds familiar and you haven’t explored further, I hope this review helps to change your mind. I’m absolutely loving what Jack Daniel’s has been up to over the last few years. In addition to trying several really great single barrels bottled for private groups, they have also been putting out a limited edition release expression each year that always seems to exceed my expectations. The past few years’ releases were in the form of Jack Daniel’s Heritage Barrel Bourbon but for 2020, they decided to release a single barrel rye instead.

This expression features a high rye mash bill of 70% rye, 12% malted barley, and 18% corn. This is also the first limited release under the guidance of Jack Daniel’s new Master Distiller Chris Fletcher. This whiskey was distilled in early 2015 and aged on the top floors of their rickhouses before being bottled at barrel strength. This bottle clocks in at 65.55% ABV.

While it’s not nearly as competitive as the market for limited edition bourbon, I’m seeing more and more limited ryes enter the space every year. How does this single barrel Tennessee rye hold up to the competition?

Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Special Release 2020 Barrel Proof Rye - 65.55% ABV
Category Notes
Appearance Copper
Nose Heavy vanilla and rye spice up front, toasted oak and wood char, dried berries, herbal undertones, hefty cinnamon, some really nice orange citrus as well. Candy sweetness emerges after several minutes.
Taste Heavy black cherries, musty, herb garden with lots of mint, chocolate, more citrus with a bit of lemon zest in addition to the orange, almonds, and vanilla.
Finish Wow, the heat tones down a lot on the finish but it's certainly not lacking in flavor. It starts out as an absolute fruit bomb with berries and orchard fruits, then shifts to caramel sweetness with baking spice and a subtle layer of smoke underneath it all. Really well done.
Overall Thoughts I went into this not expecting a knockout when I first tried it but that's exactly what this rye is and I made sure to give it the attention it deserved on subsequent sips for this review. It hits all the right notes for a barrel proof rye, especially since it's on the younger side. Despite the strength, the heat doesn't impact flavor at all. I would love to have this kind of rye available all year long but for now, we'll all have to settle for this once a year treat from Jack Daniels.
Total Score 91/100

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