Old No. 7
We headed out (way out) to Lynchburg, TN to tour the Jack Daniels Distillery. Not only is the tour free, it is absolutely fantastic.
Lynchburg is located in Moore County, which, ironically enough, is a dry county. You can’t buy alcohol there (with the one exception of the distillery’s small shop). But, boy oh boy, they make that whiskey the best they can.
This life-sized statue of Jack Daniel stands outside the Cave Spring where the water for the whiskey is in constant flow. He was only 5’2″, and the sculptor had to make his feet unrealistically larger so the statue could actually stand. Our guide mentioned that they refer to the statue as ‘Jack on the rocks.’ (He was a great guide.)
We weren’t allowed to take photos inside any of the buildings for safety purposes — the potential of any sort of spark, even from something as small as a camera flash, would be enough to set off the 140-proof whiskey into more fire than one can imagine. Just a whiff of it from the mellowing room is about enough to knock you out. The mellowing process allows the whiskey to fall, drip by drip, through 14 feet of sugar maple charcoal, and that’s what makes it Tennessee whiskey.
Every single barrel they use for aging is hand-built and used only once. Worry not, though — each barrel is repurposed in one way or another, either as charcoal (for sale in the hardware store in Lynchburg) or furniture, or any number of other clever items available for purchase ;)
Honestly, this was one of the best, most entertaining and informative tours I’ve ever taken. And how great is this?! They take a group photo at the beginning of the tour (you can opt out, in case you’re not meant to be on a tour when you’re meant to be elsewhere, or with someone you’re not meant to be with…) and then they post it on their website so you can download it at your leisure. None of this silly special-folder-and-$20-price-tag (Grand Ole Opry, ahem) business. (Our tour guide is on the far left — William. He was awesome.)
After the tour, it’s all you can drink. Lemonade and water. ;)