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Buy the Barrel

Article-Buy the Barrel

Binny's Beverage Depot is one of a select group of companies that participates in Jack Daniel Distillery's Single Barrel Medallion Project, which enables customers to purchase a full barrel of selected whiskey that is bottled specially for them. "We've been doing this since Jack Daniel's started their Single Barrel program three years ago," says Binny's liquor buyer Brett Pontoni. "Master distiller Jimmy Bedford knows the general profile I like, and he will send me samples from about fifteen barrels of whiskey that meet that profile. I select the three or four barrels that I want, and Jack Daniel's then hand-bottles the whiskey for us."

The whiskey is bottled in elegant 750-mL decanters. Each decanter label displays the individual barrel number, the rick in which the whiskey was stored in the barrel house, and the date when the whiskey was bottled. An antique-finish cast-metal medallion from Stoffel Seals ( is placed around the neck of the decanter to announce that this whiskey was bottled exclusively for Binny's. Binny's purchases five or six selected barrels of whiskey a year from this program.

A customized cast-metal medallion with an antique brass finish placed around the neck of each bottle alerts customers that Binny’s selected that barrel of whiskey and had it bottled specially for them.

Jack Daniel's whiskey develops its characteristic flavor during the time it is aged in charred-oak barrels and stored in wood and tin barrel houses located in the hills near the distillery. Summer after summer, the pores of the barrels open and allow some of the whiskey to seep in. Winter after winter, the pores contract, forcing the whiskey back out. When the whiskey is forced out, it takes along not only an amber color (the whiskey is clear as water when it is produced), but also subtle flavors, such as the caramelized sugars from the barrel's charred interior, that give Jack Daniel's its distinctive taste.

Though it takes an expert like master distiller Jimmy Bedford to notice it, no two barrels of whiskey taste exactly alike. The taste depends on the temperature extremes during the seasoning process, and even where the barrels sit in the barrel house. Bedford samples each barrel of whiskey as it comes of age, and sets aside a few barrels that have the smoothest taste and most intense flavor. These are the barrels offered in the Single Barrel project. Less than half of 1 percent of all Jack Daniel's whiskey earns this distinction.

Customers who participate in the project typically visit the distillery to taste different barrels, and select the barrel they want. Jack Daniel's hand-bottles the selected whiskey in the glass decanters, inserts a wood and cork stopper, and applies the neck label. The finishing touch is a customized medallion around the neck of each bottle that states that the whiskey was specially selected for the "barrel owner." The medallions are affixed to the bottles by an antique-finished metal chain.

More information is available:
Medallions:Stoffel Seals Corp., 845/353-3800. Circle No. 210.


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