Technically, you could have bought your own whiskey barrel years ago. But you don’t know any coopers and you don’t regularly hang out at lumber mills and you didn’t want to empty gallons of the good stuff a bottle at a time. Owning a barrel – and tapping it from time to time – was a glorious dream. Now, Jack Daniel’s wants to make it an achievable reality.
The Tennessee brand’s Buy the Barrel Program has streamlined the process by doing all of the hard work for you. Interested customers are invited to come to the Lynchburg distillery and taste whiskeys until they find the right barrel (or lose consciousness). “If they can't visit us in person, we ask them about their taste preferences and then I or Master Distiller Jeff Arnett, pick out the barrel for them,” says Assistant Master Distiller Chris Fletcher. Once selected, the barrel is emptied into between 240 and 250 750-mL glass decanters (per regulations concerning the size of alcohol bottles).
“Each decanter will have the individual barrel number, the rack from which it was taken in the barrel house and the date the whiskey was bottled,” explains Fletcher. The whiskey is then sent, along with the barrel, to the customer’s local liquor store, where other customers presumably get jealous.
There is a catch, though. The cost of a Jack Daniel’s Barrel is between $10,000 and $12,00 depending on how much is left after the angel’s take their share as well and the government extracts taxes.
For that money, customers can claim that they have their own particular variety of JD without stretching the truth. They also get their name on a brass brick back at the factory and a nice way to really tie the room together. In addition, they’ll have all the decanters they could ever possibly want. They make great Christmas presents.
Photos by Tobias Gaulke / Getty Images