Jack Daniel’s Barrel Proof Rye 2020 Special Release

200 Single Barrel Limited Rye Release

A few months ago a friend sent me 6 blind samples. In an attempt to trip me up and get me to admit I enjoyed MGP bourbon (spoiler: I did enjoy 14-year-old Remus Volstead Reserve), some of these samples ended up being real wildcards.

In the sample pack were a smattering of MGP bourbon, a Dickel curve-ball, and a local Kentucky pick of Wilderness Trail rye that I ended up buying a whole bottle of (review on that one coming soon). Also laying in wait was a sample of this Jack Daniels barrel proof rye. I was not prepared to embrace my inner tater.

Tasting Notes

This is a compilation of notes from two separate single barrels. One being 132.2 proof and the other at 130.4. Burnish umber in color with quickly dissipating medium-sized bubbles in the shake test. Relatively thin legs to note as well.

Very sweet nose with straight brown sugar and rye. Maple, molasses, burnt sugars. Cinamon, clove, allspice dram, ginger, and peppercorns. Expressed orange citrus oils. One single barrel was giving me more star anise, dried fruited yeast buns. The other was hazelnuts and chocolate like Nutella over toast or pancakes. Both had a fig cookie aroma with dates, figs, plums, and currant flavors. One leaned heavily into the dessert dram territory.

The palate presented a much more rye-focused flavor in comparison to the nose. Blind, I almost thought this would be a high rye bourbon as it had this corn syrup sweetness to it. I preferred the single barrel that had a bready, yeasty note with its more herbal, grassy flavor. It was noticeably less sweet. While the other still tasted like rye, that overly sweet palate took a bit of time to fade in the glass. Glazed yeast rolls and familiar rye spices like clove, nutmeg, cinnamon, and a fruity pink peppercorn note. Leather, young but not green oak, clove cigarettes. Herbal chamomile tea. Both were incredibly delicious.

With all the flavors and aromas on the nose and palate, I was unimpressed with how the finish dropped off. Dark cocoa, leaning into a chocolate mint flavor. Toasted spices and a warming long spiced finish. Orange zest and tangerines. Almond cookies and cake. Much more straightforward on the finish. Not bad but just lacked depth. I did enjoy some more oak and tannic bitterness on the finish but it wasn’t enough to tip the scales entirely.


I hate how much I enjoy these barely legal barrel proof rye releases. I enjoy the more herbal ryes, but every once in a while I crave a sweeter rye like this Jack Daniels or Michter’s Barrel Strength Rye.

This is a great bottle. If this becomes a regular release, I’d recommend this be a bottle everyone keeps on the shelf. It’s not worth its secondary price by any means. It’s also not one you need to bunker a dozen bottles of in my opinion. It hits a perfect balance of age and proof for me while being distinctly not an MGP style rye.