When you think of "Tennessee whiskey", you probably think of Jack Daniel — it's hard not to have that association. Jack didn't get there on his own, though, and I'm very pleased to have two whiskies based on a late-1800s Lincoln County recipe, named after Jack's mentor Nathan "Nearest" Green, who after the Civil War became Jack Daniel's first master distiller.

Nathan "Nearest" Green was born in 1820, into slavery, and that's likely why his name went so long without the recognition that his student, Jasper Newton Daniel (Jack Daniel) received. He most notably taught Jack how to make Tennessee whiskey and indeed was instrumental in establishing the most iconic part of the process, which we now know as the Lincoln County Process: filtering the whiskey through sugar maple charcoal. (The original Jack Daniel distillery was in Lincoln County.)

After the Civil War, Jack hired Nathan as his first master distiller, making him the first recorded African-American master distiller in the US.

Tennessee whiskey's recipes have of course evolved significantly since that time; the Uncle Nearest project is a rediscovery of the late-19th century style, based on an original document which is now kept in the Farmers Bank in Lynchburg — the bank Jack Daniel founded in 1888.


Why we like it:

• A fruitier, more youthful style in the 1884; an oakier, spicier character in the 1856.
• A rediscovery of the late-19th century Tennessee whiskey style.
• Nathan "Nearest" Green (Uncle Nearest) taught Jasper Newton Daniel (Jack Daniel) how to make whiskey.
• All landed in HK.

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