My guy and I finally made our way to Lynchburg, TN. According to people of the world, when you tell them you are from Tennessee, there are two things that come to mind: Elvis Presley and Jack Daniels. It only took us thirteen years, but we finally got a little more acquainted with Mr. Jack Daniels.
Strangely enough, Lynchburg is in a dry county, you can’t buy alcohol where Jack Daniels is made. Up until a few years back, you couldn’t even sample the stuff. Not so now, and there are two tours available that offer samples when it’s all done. I highly recommend this trip for whiskey and non-whiskey drinkers alike. We met up with some dear friends that aren’t whiskey drinkers and they enjoyed the tour just as much as we, occasional whiskey drinkers, did.
It took us 2 hours and 40 mins to get to Lynchburg that beautiful Sunday morning. The drive was somewhat familiar, as most of it is the same route we take when we go to Franklin. From Franklin, it was a mere 40 minutes through what we could only describe as horse country. So many stables and barns along the way, but it was a lovely drive.
Our tour was at 11:45, one of the first for the day, and we did the Angel’s Share Tour, which seemed much like the others from the description, only with a different selection of whiskeys to try at the end: the single barrel collection. Whiskeys that we hadn’t tried before, and most of which we probably wouldn’t try again, unless of course one of us has a rich relative that ends up leaving us a small fortune and we can splurge on $500 bottles of whiskey. Um, yeah, that isn’t happening, and we’ll just stick to regular Old Number 7 when we fancy a pour of Jack Daniels, so the higher end whiskey tour is as close as we’ll get to most of those we tried. (All the other popular Jack Daniel whiskeys that you’d find at the store were sampled on the the other tasting tour.)
This is a tourist attraction and there was the optional photo op that comes with most tourist attractions. Only this pic was available online and downloadable for free, so people like me who like to make blog posts about everything could have it nicely displayed forever more. (Since it was posted online, and the tour guide let everyone know it would be, I don’t feel bad displaying a posed picture of total strangers without their permission.) Can you find my guy and I? Hint, we’re on the right and I am wearing red.
We started on a short tour bus ride to be dropped off where the walking part begins (it’s pretty much all walking). We went through all the processes of how the whiskey is made, first stop being the rickhouse where all this wood is turned into charcoal.
We saw the cave where all the water comes from that is used to distill the whiskey, and heard about how Jack got into the whiskey making business as a young boy. A Jack Daniel’s history lesson is also included on this tour.
We went through a few more old areas of historical significance before making our way to where it’s all made.
The grain house, the still house, and the barrel house were all toured but without the use of cameras. There are vapors in there so electronic devices were not allowed to be used. You will just have to take the tour yourself to see what was in here. Very interesting stuff, and being a winemaker, I found the fermentation room particularly interesting, and all of it was very neat for me being familiar with the whole alcohol making process.
One can’t help but notice all the black residue that covers a lot of the structures as you walk around the place. It’s all from the whiskey vapors. It coats everything our guide told us. There were plenty of blackened trees to see as well.
By now we are getting close to the end of the hour and a half long tour and we stopped in to the bottling house. No bottling on the weekends so we watched a video instead. The whole entire Jack Daniels operation takes place all right here and is delivered to the world. Kind of crazy this little town of about 6,000 people in the third smallest county of Tennessee makes all this whiskey! I don’t even remember the number of gallons she told us, it was A LOT!
Did you know you could order whiskey and buy it by the barrel? I didn’t.
Now we had come to the part of the tour where we got to taste the whiskey we had spent the morning hearing about. The tasting room was a nice sized room with a sample board laid out before each one of us. In total, maybe we’d be tasting the equivalent of a shot glass, if that.
It was what the guide called a classroom style tasting. We started from the left and she gave us a bit of info on each one before we tried it. We were encouraged to make two to three sips of each sample for the best affect. Complimentary water was provided, but no spit cup. Ha ha! I’m guessing it’s never been necessary.
Of all the whiskeys we tasted, the Sinatra was the most expensive. A shot at a Nashville bar will run anywhere from $75 to $100 we were told. What we tasted, was about a $45 pour she said. I was impressed with the price and the fact that it was the most expensive whiskey I ever did taste, but it wasn’t my favorite. I liked the second to the last which was a little on the stronger side: the Single Barrel, Barrel Proof. It was my guy’s favorite as well. All the others were pretty good. I noticed differences in each, but I’m not an expert of whiskey tasting, so that is about all you will get from me as far as whiskey critiquing goes.
And that concluded the tour for us that day. We walked past the souvenir shop without a second thought, and then out to the walking path that takes you to the town square. We had some delicious BBQ and walked around, then ended our afternoon with a quick wine tasting on the square. We came home with plenty of pictures and memories from a great day with a couple of great friends. Oh, and one bottle of wine, two wine glasses, and a couple bottles of BBQ sauce. I’d recommend this trip to anyone, and if you have children with you, the dry tour is available for under-aged companions.
It was a wonderfully fun day in Lynchburg, TN.