On Tuesday, March 13, we had breakfast in another of the bars that Dave had recommended to us and it was a success. They served very complete breakfast menus. You could choose between the typical greasy but delicious American breakfast, or other more “healthy-cool” ones with the typical toast with avocado, orange juice, etc. Then we got in the car and took the road in the direction of the little town of Lynchburg. Population: 361 inhabitants. And what about this modest town an hour from Nashville? Well, the most famous whiskey distillery in the United States: Jack Daniel’s.
Once there, at the information point they told us the bus to take to get to the factory, and in no time we were there. There are different types of guided tours to do around the distillery and we chose the cheapest among those that include a whiskey tasting at the end ($ 20).
Within half an hour, we joined a group and the visit began. They put us in a stroller and took us along the paths until we stopped in front of a wooden cabin. Interestingly, the guide explained to us that in the county where the distillery is located, drinking whiskey is prohibited, although it is allowed to buy it. Even so, the federal tax on each bottle is $ 13.50. That’s why the tasting area is just outside the county lines, even if it’s only a few feet away from the distillery. 650 employees work here and the factory has 80 whiskey maturation warehouses, which house a total of 20,000 barrels (although they are very ugly on the outside). The factory has its own team of firefighters, so you can get by, and they make their own barrels, the wood of which gives the whiskey a special flavor and color.
In the guided tour we learned a lot of things. For example, the difference between whiskey and bourbon. In the cabin they told us about the beginnings of the business. As a teenager, Jack learned all the art of distilling from Nathan Green, an African-American who was a slave until the Emancipation of 1863. Later, Jack would hire several of his sons in the business and turn one of them, George Green, into the chief distiller. Jack Daniel died in 1911, as the story goes, due to gangrene in the big toe he suffered after kicking the safe of his business. Apparently he had a really bad soon, man. We then visited the fresh water spring that Jack Daniel used to make his whiskey. Even today this water is still used, which arises from a cave.
Then we visit the factory area where the gigantic fermentation tanks for rye malt stand, each with a capacity of 150,000 liters. Fermentation lasts 6 days, and no heat is applied to it, but rather ferments with the natural heat of the fermentation process as it is enclosed in the tank. A curious fact is that the yeast they use for fermentation has been reused since the days of Jack Daniel himself. And the “mash” or must from the fermentation is sold to local farmers to feed the cattle, and here the guide made a joke and told us that surely that’s why the county’s cattle are the happiest in all the United States, heh, heh, okay.
Then we went to the modern tasting rooms and were able to sample shot glasses of 5 different varieties of Jack Daniel’s whiskey: the double smoothed Gentleman Jack, the typical Jack Daniel’s No. 7, the Jack Daniel’s single barrel, a that had a touch of honey “Tennessee Honey” and another with hot spices “Tennessee Fire” that has a reddish tone and has cinnamon.
Although there was the glass to spit out the whiskey, I think most of the visitors were content with the tasting. I just sipped the last two because later it was my turn to drive back to Nashville. To finish, we walked around the store a bit, but we did not buy any bottle because in the United States it is very expensive and totally, you can find them anywhere. In fact, it costs € 17 at the English Court and $ 43 at the factory.
For lunch we ended up going to a traditional restaurant in the town of Lynchburg. It was very authentic, because it was a simple hamburger joint, the kind of a lifetime. Then we returned to Nashville and on the way, just before entering the city, we stopped for a walk in a typical American mall. We were about to go into the cinema to see a movie. In the end, as we were tired, we went back to Dave’s house and spent the rest of the afternoon watching episodes of Friends on TV.