Jack Daniel’s Tour Highlights

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We visited the Jack Daniel's Distillery with Jim's parents -- it was raining! The Jack Daniel’s Distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee is close enough to Nashville that we take a road trip out there once a year or so.

It’s also a fun thing to do with guests whenever they’re in town visiting us. The best part: It’s FREE!

Here are the highlights of our February 27th Jack Daniel’s tour with Jim’s parents.

The tour itself lasts about 2 hours. You traverse approximately 9 acres (by foot) going in and out of buildings and warehouses — with 18 different stops along the way.

Jack Daniel's Distillery Tour.

Stop #1 is the Rickyard where they make their own charcoal for the “mellowing process” by burning uniquely stacked wood, after igniting it with a splash of 135-proof whiskey.

The actual safe which ultimately led to Mr. Jack Daniel's death.Then, you walk by the limestone Cave Spring that’s so cool, pure, and iron-free that it’s ONLY used for making Jack Daniel’s whiskey. In fact, the source of the spring itself remains unknown to this day. It’s magical!

Next, you visit Mr. Jack Daniel’s personal office. (It’s the only “original” building that remains on the property.) There, you get to see the rusty old safe — the actual safe that led to his death.

That safe wouldn’t open one morning, so out of frustration Mr. Jack kicked it. That led to a nasty foot infection that went untreated and eventually killed him!

Here’s the explanation that appeared in the bulletin at his funeral:

Jack Daniel's died after he kicked a safe out of frustration. This is his funeral notice.

 

Here’s a closeup of the actual safe that kicked Mr. Jack Dianel’s butt:

The safe that Mr. Jack Daniels kicked before he died. Photo ©2004 Jim & Lynnette's Fun Times Guide //thefuntimesguide.com

 

Believe it or not, Lynchburg is a “dry county”, so the closest you get to actually “sampling” some whiskey is the part of the tour where you learn about the fermentation process. (Unless you count the all-u-can-drink “Lynchburg Lemonade” that you get at the very end of the tour!)

Jack Daniel's fermenting early in the whiskey making process. First, the distillation process combines corn, rye and barley, along with Cave Spring water to create what’s known as “mash”.

Whiskey fermentation at Jack Daniel's Distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee. Then, it’s actually called “sour mash” as the whiskey is left to bubble and age gracefully. The sensory result: There’s some very smelly fermentating going on here!

Next on the tour, you get to witness the “mellowing process” as the 135-proof whiskey ever-so-slowly drips through 10 feet of charcoal.

The tour guide invites you to stand up close to the tank while he briskly opens and closes the lid. You are encouraged to breathe deeply — inhaling the vapors in through your nose — then quickly open up your mouth — at which point you can actually taste the richness of the whiskey! It’s so strong, you can’t help but cough from the pungent smell and the taste.

Finally, you see the barrel-filling process and the storage warehouse for all those barrels of Jack Daniel’s whiskey.

Jim and Lynnette do their best imitation of 'mellowing'. Dick and Elouise depicting the process of 'aging gracefully'. My favorite part of the trip was when Elouise suggested that we photograph the similarities between the “mellowing process” and “aging gracefully”.

Toward the end of the tour, you visit a building where the Silver Barrel (high dollar, premium whiskey) is displayed.

Here, you’ll notice approximately 240 bottles (give or take a bottle — notice the missing one?) of Silver Barrel Tennessee Whiskey. This depicts the number of bottles of whiskey that one barrel yields.

Premium Silver Barrel Jack Daniel's whiskey on display.

Along the next wall are the names of every individual and corporation that has ever purchased a high-dollar shipment of Silver Barrel Tennessee Whiskey. This is Jack Daniel’s top-of-the-line whiskey that is specially-packaged JUST for you for a mere $8,000 – $10,000. Wanna add your name to the list?

 

If you liked that, then you’ll love this…

Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Whiskey Barrel House. This is the barrel house where they make Old No. 7 whiskey at the Jack Daniel’s Distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee.

The Jack Daniel's barrel house in Lynchburg, Tennessee. Photo ©2004 Jim & Lynnette's Fun Times Guide //thefuntimesguide.com