It was only a short drive and we have made it to Lynchburg. I have been a fan of Jack Daniel’s for quite a while but my intake is limited, as I really don’t consume it well. But oh do I enjoy it! So for me this stop was a must, I mean how many times will we be this far south in Tennessee.
We follow the signs to the distillery and park, being offered a shuttle bus from the car park to the entrance seemed extreme seeing as it was just across the road so we declined. On entrance we were greeted by this tower of barrels shaped like a Christmas tree and I begin to clutch at Mr.C’s arm due to excitement. The next tour is in 15 minutes and is the ‘Angel Tour’. We buy tickets and the assistant is shocked by our age (yay, the face cream may finally be working!). “Help yourself to some free Lynchburg lemonade, while you wait”, she says. I automatically think it’s the cocktail so do indeed help myself. Turns out it is just lemonade, but yummy all the same. We look around the entrance museum and enjoy the fun facts and memorabilia it presents, feeling chuffed that the year we have chosen to come is actually their 150th anniversary.
The tour begins with a group photo and then a shuttle bus 20 yards up the road to the wood barn. Our guide Bob has the typical southern drawl and an abundance of approachability. He is both informative and jovial as he guides us through the estate.
This tour is so enlightening and creative we are both in awe of it. The fact that the site was chosen due to the minerals found in the fresh spring, all the way through to how the wood is cut in the county and that literally everything comes from Moore County and more specifically Lynchburg. We get to see the hops being boiled and the smell is so significantly Jack Daniel’s. You can even distinguish the strengths of the barrels based on the smells. Two of the craziest facts we learn though are these.
1 – Mr. Jack Daniel’s (Jasper Daniel) died due to stubbing his toe on his safe. Well inadvertently anyway. He was suffering from diabetes and the knock to his foot led to amputation and infection, resulting in death.
2- Lynchburg resides in the dry county of Moore. That’s right; the place where every drop of Jack Daniel’s is sold cannot legally sell alcohol in bars, restaurants or shops!! I mean talk about monopolising the market, the only place you can even taste alcohol is at the distillery.
We learn much more as we partake in the hour and half tour, but the best bit is the tasting. It was originally my day to drive but knowing my inadequacy in holding my alcohol Mr.C steps up. Bob tells us that 5 shots of the lethal liquor puts us still within the driving limit. Although as we taste one that is 140 proof, I begin to doubt the drink drive limits in Tennessee. We buy a bottle a personalised bottle of Jack for our memories and stroll into the town itself.
If you have ever seen a country and western then I feel like you have seen Lynchburg, it is a suitably old cowboy style town. With only a handful of shops, it doesn’t take long to see it all. But I do enjoy the appreciation the town has for the thing that put it on the map. With iron statues of Jack Daniels playing board games in the square, it is the type of place that if it could talk, it would be able to tell a wealth of stories.
If you are ever this far south I would recommend visiting. I don’t think you have to be a Jack Daniel’s fan to come here and appreciate it. Both Mr.C and I left feeling like we learned something and it was very enjoyable. We even look at trees differently now, those with blacked trunks means there’s alcohol very close by!!