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Issue 97 - Mellowing in Lynchburgh

Whisky Magazine Issue 97
July 2011

 

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Mellowing in Lynchburgh

Davin de Kergommeaux gets under the skin of the Tennessee giant

Might it have been tough love? Perhaps a premonition of his own impending premature death? Or was it simple exasperation with an overly precocious 10 year old that in 1860 led one Calaway Daniel, of Moore County, Tennessee, to do the unthinkable. He deposited his youngest son, Jasper, on the doorstep of the Lutheran minister in Lynchburg. Maybe he would set the boy on the right path?
We can't know Calaway's motivation, but if the legend is true, young Jasper's precocious nature is clearly evident in a defining action he took just three years later. When the minister's wife finally convinced her husband to sell his distillery, Jack, as the 13 year old Jasper was now called, had both the acumen and remarkably, the wherewithal to purchase it.
That the minister, Reverend Dan Call, dispensed liquid corn spirits along with spiritual guidance was not unusual. Many a 19th century Southern preacher heard both calls. And if the success of his protégé, Jack Daniel, is any indication, Reverend Call was also quite a teacher. It was Call who showed Daniel the benefits of mellowing whiskey by filtering it through maple charcoal.
Although Jack Daniel's whiskey today meets every requirement to be called straight bourbon, Call's charcoal mellowing, known now as the Lincoln County process, is considered to impart distinctive enough softening of the flavour to merit its own category called ‘Tennessee Whiskey.'
“Consistent flavour is important at Jack Daniel distillery,” says Jeff Norman,...

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