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Jack Daniel’s Heritage Barrel vs John J. Bowman Single Barrel

Jack Daniel’s Heritage Barrel vs John J. Bowman Single Barrel

Jack Daniel’s Heritage Single Barrel was a special, low-key release in late 2018. For those that didn’t do their homework, it was just another Jack Daniel’s release that they’d probably pass up on the shelf. For those that had heard the positive buzz around it, they were snatched up quickly and then they were all gone. Jack Daniel’s, which has been adding quite a few experimental offerings to their standard lineup, began by taking what appears to be their standard mashbill and putting it into the barrel at a lower proof than normal.

Jack Daniel’s Heritage Barrel

The mashbill remains the same standard Jack Daniels mashbill. But the barrels were given some special treatment in the form of a slow heating (toasting) that was longer than normal before charring the inside. Then, these barrels were matured on some of the top floors of a rickhouse. All of this was in search of a different, more complex flavor profile.

Bowman vs Jack Daniels_2

I didn’t have to do a side-by-side review with this one, it’s just more fun that way. I scratched my head over deciding which other company would have a product that would come remotely close to this one. Obviously, the Lincoln County Process was going to make this unique right off the bat. The 100 proof was easy enough to find a match with and the low-ish rye mashbill (Jack uses 12% rye) means that it doesn’t impart a lot of that rye character into the liquid.

John J. Bowman Single Barrel

But I think I found a suitable comparison when I remembered the specs on my John J. Bowman Single Barrel bottle. It doesn’t go through the LCP, but it does get distilled yet again after Bowman gets the distillate from Buffalo Trace (rumored to be Mashbill #1). If it is Mashbill #1, then that is a high corn/low rye mashbill as well, so it matches up in that regard. And both of these are probably aged, or at least taste, around the 8 year old mark. All of this combines to give the Bowman a somewhat lighter body that is still very full of flavor.

Bowman vs Jack Daniels_4

So let’s get down to it! Does the JD Heritage Barrel deserve your money (to find it that is) or is JJ Bowman an easily obtainable replacement for it? I sampled these semi-blind, neat and in a glencairn.

Glass #1

Nose: Stewed dark red fruits, toasted walnuts/almonds, loads of caramel candies and a cinnamon holiday candle (?!)

Palate: Creamy-ish mouthfeel, very sweet! Vanilla pudding and dark red fruit preserves

Finish: Caramel crème candies, marshmallow fluff, toasted oak, cherry pie filling, slight spice burn on the end, but it adds layers instead of detracts.

Score: 7.8/10



Glass #2

Nose: Pecan Caramel Turtles, light oak sensation, maple candies, warm cinnamon rolls, toasted marshmallow outsides

Palate: Cherry cough drops, buttered cinnamon raisin toast, clove, barrel char, slight black pepper flakes and a vanilla crème brulee

Finish: A lovely aftertaste of cinnamon sugar pie crust. Caramelized bananas Foster, then a few tannic notes begin to hit and take away from the sweetness like oak and tobacco leaf. It does not detract, just adds to it.

Score: 7.9/10



Blind Reveal:

Glass 1: John J. Bowman

Glass 2: Jack Daniel’s Heritage Barrel


Winner: Jack Daniels Heritage Barrel!


Bowman vs Jack Daniels_3

I was definitely right in the regard that these two were similar. The Heritage Barrel wins because the flavors were more toasty, rich and layered. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the Bowman though. It’s sweet, fruity, and has a bit of a spice on the end. It’s just edged out by that extra little bit of complexity that the Jack has. However,the Heritage Barrel is released once a year and is impossible to find after that.  But if you can’t find it, the Bowman is certainly a worthwhile bottle for your hard-earned money.

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Rating Breakdown

1 | Disgusting | Drain pour (Example: Jeffers Creek)

2 | Poor | Forced myself to drink it

3 | Bad | Flawed (AD Laws 4 Grain BiB, Clyde Mays anything)

4 | Sub-par | Many things I’d rather have (Tincup 10 year)

5 | Good | Good, solid, ordinary (Larceny, Sazerac Rye)

6 | Very Good | Better than average (Buffalo Trace, OGD BiB)

7 | Great | Well above average (Old Ezra Barrel Proof, Old Weller Antique)

8 | Excellent | Exceptional (Michter’s Barrel Proof Rye, Four Roses Barrel Strength)

9 | Incredible | Extraordinary (GTS, 13 Year MGP or Canadian Rye)

10 | Insurpassable | Nothing Else Comes Close (William Larue Weller)

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