The label claims…

Unlike any other whiskey, Gentleman Jack is charcoal mellowed twice, once before aging and once again after. The result is a rare Tennessee whiskey with a light, exceptionally smooth taste.

Photo via Flickr By "DefJux921"

Photo via Flickr By "DefJux921"

The truth, as it turns out, is that Shakespeare hit the nail on the head when he said a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

Unfortunately, it took me $40 to find that the same holds true for whiskeys made by the Jack Daniel Distillery. Having had less than thrilling experiences with its less-costly counterpart, I was hoping to find a gem in Gentleman Jack. Although not a terrible whiskey, it doesn’t stack up against many others for its price, and ultimately doesn’t do very much to distinguish itself from the teen-with-a-neckbeard’s choice.

The biggest surprise about this product is how its flavour contrasts its scent. By scent, it’s sweet (almost too much so) and is slightly reminiscent of maple. Taking a sip reveals a whiskey that is sharp and quickly fading; flat and hardly sweet or engaging at all — much like Gibson’s or Canadian Club. In fact, the most notable qualities are not in the taste but in the way it numbs the roof of your mouth and burns the throat… Not surprisingly, these are the most prevalent qualities in the lower-end JD.

I can’t justify buying this again. I don’t often drink highballs and there’s nothing that makes me want to spend almost twice as much to make the same old Jack and Coke. After learning there wasn’t anything special to experience here, I drank most of the bottle in an evening just to be rid of it.

Five silly hats out of ten.

The Hot Toddy holds many variations. Given the fact its definitions are often as ambiguous as “a mixed drink, usually including alcohol, that is served hot” this is ultimately unavoidable. On this dreary late January evening, my hopes are to take you through a version of the Hot Toddy along with some suggestions to make it your own.

I personally stick to using a Scotch in this recipe. You don’t need to go overboard and use an expensive one, so in this case I’m using “The Famous Grouse 12 Year” which I got on sale this week for ~$40.

The recipe is as follows:

– Scotch Whiskey
– A whole Lemon
– Cloves
– Honey (simple syrup or icing sugar if you wont want to impart flavor)
– Hot Water

The Ingredients

The Ingredients

A squeeze of lemon

A squeeze of lemon

I like to use an ‘Irish coffee glass’ which in this case is about 7ounces.

The first step is simple. Pour yourself a dram of some Scotch; I usually pour about one and a half ounces.

Next, squeeze in about a quarter of the lemon. This is to taste.

Now to sweeten: I personally like to use a little honey, it goes especially well with the cloves that are later added. If you don’t personally like honey, then just use some simple syrup or icing sugar (it melts easier in this case).

Top it all up with some fresh, piping hot water.

Finally, you need to add the cloves. My favorite way to do this is by sticking 3 or 4 of them into a piece of lemon. This holds them together in one place so you don’t end up drinking them (I happened to catch Beppi @ globeandmail doing this).

Poke the cloves into the lemon skin

Poke the cloves into the lemon skin

Now go ahead and carefully drop that into your mug, and let it all steep for 2 or 3 minutes.

The aromatics from this drink are usually quite excellent, and if you are feeling under-the-weather it’s known to do wonders.

I love making this on particularly wet, snowy or cold evenings when I’m prepared to sit and read for a little while. It won’t take long before you are ready for bed!

Love it or hate it, it’s a classic. This one can be reinvented to fit anyone’s personality with the choice of Whiskey and sweetener.

Many Cheers!

– Matt

The Hot Toddy

The Hot Toddy

click for larger view

Cragganmore 12 Year Old - click for larger view


Just a quick update!

All the photos will be taken by us, exclusively for this blog. Our goal is to get some unique reviews out, and a little background story on the whiskey, and/or why we chose it.

We will generally be doing Scotch and Whiskeys in beginning, but who knows where it will take us!


– Matt (& The Hatters)

As a student alternating between work terms and academic terms for the next two and a half years, I have no long-term responsibilities and plenty of pocket change. To take full advantage of this situation, I purchase and consume fine whiskey with my free time and disposable income.

The diversity within the whiskey world is stunning to me. No other single spirit presents the variety or complexity that can be found among the diverse offerings of fine whiskey producers. The difference between Canadian Club and, say, Laphroaig speaks volumes about what’s out there for the consumer these days, yet I often find it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the amount of information and the sheer number of different whiskies that are out there. My writings on this site are in part to catalogue my experience and opinions of my purchases, and in part to offer readers with one glimpse (among the many available on the internet) of what a particular whiskey might offer you.

Whiskey offers complexity and nuance to the patient drinker. When you read my reviews, don’t expect to agree with them. There is no right or wrong when it comes to whiskey drinking, only opinion (and my opinion is that of a novice). Expect bias towards particular whiskies and characteristics, as I plan to review whiskey based less on its merit and more on my own personal experience and/or enjoyment.

That being said, pour yourself a dram and take a look around the site. As they say, life’s too short to drink bad whiskey!

Stuck in Dartmouth for the Winter, I’m in a great place…. to get murdered.

Or drink a boatload of liquor.

Hopefully it’ll be the latter.

I’ve been reviewing coffee and espresso for some years now, and thus I hope to bring another area of expertise to the table [that is outside of Elliott and Mark’s].

In order to try and express everything I’m tasting, I’ll be borrowing some terms from the coffee cupping world. This may prove interesting at times, but I will do my best to convey everything to the masses.

On top of this, I will also be playing around with some Whiskey based drinks, especially classical combinations.

Cheers folks.

Matt is the photographer at Three Silly Hats and the Founder of Coffee Folk (Coffee Reviews).

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