Have a Seat between the Gents – Jack Daniel’s Masterclass

Bar, Blog, Cocktails, Drinks, Gastronomy, Hotel, Jack Daniel's, Onyx, Park Hyatt, Switzerland, Tasting, Whiskey

What does a tiny lady like me, on lunchtime in a luxurious hotel in the middle of Zurich’s business quarter? I don’t certainly belong to the uptown girls or am a banker’s assistant – I was invited to an event that was kind of interesting for me.

I didn’t knew a lot about whiskey, I just noticed that by sipping to my friend’s Jack and Cokes, that whiskey isn’t exactly my taste. Too strong, too raw, maybe too masculine from some point of view? So that was one of my motivations to join the event: I was curious to see if the different sorts of whiskey taste the same, or if there really is something that I could consider for an after dessert drink, after cooking for my friends in my Hawaiian inspired kitchen.

We took our seats at the Masterclass and I immediately saw that I was one of two ladies joining the event. I was surrounded by journalists, bloggers and bartenders, most of them big fans of whiskey, like the real gentleman should be. Well, it was quite flattering to have a seat between two gents, I mean, you feel me!

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The Class was hosted by Chris Fletcher, who’s the Assistant Master Distiller at the Jack Daniel’s Distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee. It was immediately clear that the man loves his job there. He started working for the Jack Daniel’s family as a guide in the distillery, graduated in between as a chemist, and then got back to know more about the production of Jack Daniel’s whiskey, like his grandfather did, a retired Master Distiller.

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It was quite interesting to know, that Jack Daniel himself had already a great business mastermind at the age of sixteen. His exact date of birth still is a big question mark, the only thing known is that he was born one day in September. Reason enough for the distillery in Tennessee, to celebrate Jack’s birthday pretty much everyday during the whole month. The good man died for a quite silly reason: one early morning at work, he got pretty angry and kicked the safe in the office. Since a blue and hurting toe wasn’t the reason at the time, to immediately rush at the doctor’s, he waited too long until a whole infection took his life away several years later.

Mantra of the day: “Never go to work early” – which is pretty fine for me!

On the table right in front of our noses, we had a couple of different whiskeys to taste, and gosh, I was happy that we had a small lunch first at the Park Hyatt’s Onyx Bar, which included meat, bread, cheeses and an amazing fig bread, totally fitting in the autumn season kicking in.

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We learned that Jack Daniel’s Whiskey is produced on the same bases like Bourbon, just with a couple of exclusive add ons and differences, that made this product more outstanding than other types of whiskey.

So here some facts about it:

  • Jack Daniel’s still produces his whiskey in Tennessee, and they’re obviously very proud about that.
  • Different than the classical Bourbon, Tennessee whiskey is filtered with charcoal.
  • Mixing ingredients like sugar or caramel to the product, which is more likely for Irish whiskey for example, is not allowed in the US.
  • A new barrel comes in use everytime. This is where the Jack Daniel’s whiskey get the different browny colours. The used barrels are exported for other distilleries, especially to Scotch or Irish whiskey producers.

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Between the different stories, we were allowed to taste five different kinds of Jack Daniel’s. Starting from the bestseller Old No. 7, present in every bar or club. I was surprised on the next ones – the Single Barrel had a much deeper color and a light aroma of orange, or the exclusive Gold No. 27, with notes of vanilla and chocolate.

My personal favourites where the Tennessee Honey, with a much sweeter taste (excuse me, there’s a lady here writing!) and the Gentleman Jack with a light vanilla note.

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Lucky us, at the very end of the Masterclass, we got a bottle of Gentleman Jack, signed by Chris Fletcher himself. A great add on to every bar back home. And I have to admit, I changed my mind about whiskey: I’ll consider a small glass from time to time after a dinner with friends, under a blanket on a sofa, while having great evening conversations.

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So dear gentlemen, I might have a great flirt tip here for you: try to impress a lady with some whiskey tasting. It’s not only a man’s thing, as you could read here in this post. Just maybe remember to order one with a lighter and sweeter note 😉

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