We return to the road in Memphis, taking in the Music Highway towards Nashville, in awe that we were following Johnny Cash, Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis and June Carter (to name a few) along the route.
However, Nashville is the home of country music, which we aren’t diehard fans of, so we branched off before the city, and took in our first lot of true country back roads, our first experience with open roads NZ style – except driving on the other side, of course!
We arrive in Lynchburg, Tennessee, the home of Mr Jack and his famous distillery. The overwhelming aroma in the town is sour mash – and as a bit of a home brewer, I’m already thoroughly enjoying it, despite the sub-zero temperatures!
We book a tour at the visitor centre, deciding on the “Angel’s share” premium tour. Our guide, Lisa, was excellent. Her great-grandmother’s cousin was one of the original workers at the distillery, showing how ingrained the company is in this small town.
For anyone who’s seen the Jack Daniels National Geographic Megafactories tour, and whether a fan of whisky (me) or not (Sara), this was a truly enlightening experience, and a highlight so far. Here’s some snaps from the tour (unfortunately in the fermentation areas, with high proof vapours, pics weren’t permitted. ALSO, note that it was well below 32 degrees – i.e. zero):
An advantage of the premium tour was the premium tasting – we enjoyed several single barrel drops, and Sara’s new fave – the Sinatra Select, made using a grooved barrel to enhance the flavours.
After the tour (only around 5:45), though, we encountered the difficulties of a small town in a dry county – all the restaurants were closing up! The place we did find (Barrelhouse BBQ) did have some delicious ribs and pulled pork (which we had), but they’d just shut off the grill, so we didn’t get to try their specialty “grilled cheese on crack” – we’ll have to come back!
After dinner we had a couple of gins in our room at the Inn, and then retired early for the big drive to Savannah, Georgia.