According to Jack Daniel’s Master Distiller Jeff Arnett, the US military buys the most of the brand’s premium Single Barrel whiskey in the world.
The price tag for an entire barrel of this whiskey, approximately 250 bottles, swings from $9,000-$12,000 since no two whiskey barrels have the same volume.
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Single Barrel whiskey was first sold in 1997 and was such a success that the distillery created the ‘By The Barrel‘ program a year later.
“Over the entire span of when the program has existed, the US military is the largest purchaser. It has been represented by base exchanges, individual units, as well as other on-base military entities like Officers’ Clubs,” Arnett told Business Insider.
During a visit to the distillery in Lynchburg, Tenn., our tour guide said it is believed that Navy SEAL Team 6 bought a barrel after the successful raid on Osama Bin Laden.
Although, we could not confirm, parent company Brown-Forman did share, ” SEAL teams have purchased barrels before but we can’t officially confirm Seal Team 6.”
At the distillery, only 1 in 100 barrels makes the cut for the select 94-proof Single Barrel whiskey.
In an average 560-pound, 53-gallon barrel, there are approximately 250 bottles-worth of Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel whiskey.
How the ‘By The Barrel’ program works
The buyer samples whiskey from 3 handpicked barrels along with the expert. After the tasting, a buyer selects a barrel and then later receives the empty barrel along with approximately 250 bottles.
The bottles are individually numbered and personalized with a custom metal hang tag. The top of the barrel is also engraved before it is shipped to the buyer.
And in the distillery’s Single Barrel room, the buyer gets their name engraved on a plaque.
Those who buy more than one barrel are given a medallion on their tablet.
MacDill Air Force Base’s plaque reflects the purchase of 7 barrels of Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel whiskey.
A little bit about Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel
According to Arnett, Jack Daniel’s derives all of its’ color and most of the flavor from the handmade charred oak barrels.
Single Barrel whiskey sits on the highest level of the distillery’s barrelhouses where temperatures can reach up to 120-degrees Fahrenheit, the fluctuations in temperature give this whiskey the most interaction with the barrel, and therefore a darker color and more robust flavor.
The following four bottles show the impact time and temperature have on each whiskey product. The first bottle is whiskey directly from the still, next is Jack Daniel’s Green Label kept on the lowest floor of the barrel house, Old No. 7 comes from the middle floor, and Single Barrel Whiskey is kept on the top floor of the barrelhouses.