Uncle Nearest 1884. Small Batch Whisky
Uncle Nearest 1884 Small Batch Whiskey.
A new distillery in Tennessee, founded in 2017, and named after Nearest Green, a slave worker who became a master distiller and taught a young Jack Daniels how to make Tennessee whiskey back in the 1850’s. This included the ‘Lincoln County Process’, based on charcoal filtering originally developed in Africa for cleaning water and that he perfected for whiskey.
Presently, the Uncle Nearest whiskies are sourced from other Tennessee distillers, (specifically George Dickel at 84% Corn, 8% Rye, 8% Barley), with hand selected Dickel barrels being blended and bottled for Uncle Nearest. The ‘1884 Small Batch’ version reviewed here is the main line product and said to be aged for 7+ years.
More selective versions include the 8 to 14-year-old premium aged whisky ‘1856’ and the single barrel 11+ year old ‘1820’.
The distillery continues with an ambitious expansion plan, with its own stills set to start producing spirit in 2021.
The 1884 Small Batch version was a Gold Medal winner at the 2020 San Francisco Spirits Competition.
Mash bill: 84% corn, 8% rye, 8% barley. (Based on Dickel Mash Bill)
Batch#: No batch identification or year of production on the bottle.
ABV = 46.5%.
Matured: Seven plus years in American oak barrels, char level ?
Cost: $46 / 750ml bottle
Color: Jonguiripe Corn: 0.4 (Whisky Magazine scale).
Swirl: Slowly developing thin rim with flat shortish legs, not making much progress down the glass.
Nose: Pleasant enough, with a light bourbon nose, some caramel is evident, but it is more on the dry aromatic side than most. After a few seconds some significant alcohol vapor kicks in. Not much else, clean and simple.
Taste: Medium light viscosity, with some immediate but restrained sweetness right up front. Mild caramel and toffee flavors develop on the palate with some hints of apple peel and even some citric notes. However, the heat also kicks in pretty quickly and is a touch more intense than I expected for a 7+ year old Tennessee whisky but does not get too fiery.
Finish: Medium length with some dry oak left as the rest of the taste profile fades away.
Verdict: Light and pleasant, but for a 7+ year old Tennessee whisky it was not as mellow as I was expecting. There was good balance and some interesting dry notes. One of those whiskies where the second pour was easier to appreciate than the first.
On the side I had some double filtered JD Gentleman Jack ($30/bottle) as a reference. Did I prefer the UN 1856 over the Gentleman Jack?
Well, the Gentleman Jack is as advertised. Even lighter than the UN1856, and coming in at 40% ABV, it had virtually no nose to speak of. A little sweet and very light and watery on the tongue, and oh so smooth and easy, with almost no body to it. The finish has just a hint of tannins. Truly ethereal really. But if you want some character then the UN1856 is the better of the two.
Love to get my hands on a bottle of the UN1820.
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