If you want to get out of Nashville for a day and see a bit of the countryside, Lynchburg, TN is a good destination. I rented a car for the day and headed south to Lynchburg, home of Jack Daniel’s Whisky and a cute little town with a population of 361.
The quickest route is just under 1.5 hours and has views of barns, horses, fields of buttercups, and armadillo road kill (the locals said they just started seeing armadillos in the area in the last couple years).
The “Flight of Jack” tour costs $17 and is a 1.5 hour tour with 5 tastings at the end. You can reserve online. They recommended arriving 30 minutes before the tour but when I checked in at 10:29 for my 11:00 tour they asked if I wanted to start at 10:30 so the tour started immediately.
The tour starts with a group photo. Of course we said “Whisky” instead of “Cheese”! A short bus ride takes us to the back of the facility. Today was special because they were burning maple boards to make the charcoal used in the filtration process.
We stopped at the cave spring that Jack Daniel discovered as a teenager and started using this pure water for the whisky. The plant still uses this water today.
We stopped in the original office of the plant, which was in use until the family sold the plant. The most valuable artifact in the office is a rusty old safe. The story is that Jack Daniels forgot the combination to the safe and in his frustration, kicked the safe breaking his toe. But as stubborn men are, he didn’t seek medical attention. Eventually it became infected and he died of blood poisoning. So this is the safe that killed Jaspar (Jack) Daniel.
The next stops are the full process of making the whiskey. I most liked the fermenting room (bubbling, odorous grain), and the charcoal filter tanks. Due to high alcohol in these rooms, you cannot turn on electronics, like cameras. For those with accessibility issues, there are some stairs on this tour.
The last stop is the tasting room where we tried 3 “regular” whiskies and 2 flavored – honey and cinnamon. Lynchburg is in a “dry” county so generally you can drink in any establishment but there’s a loophole for small tastings. You can taste here and at the wine shop in town.
The tour ended at noon so I headed into town for lunch at the Barrel House BBQ. The house special is “Grilled Cheese on Crack”, a grilled cheese sandwich with a healthy serving of pulled pork. It’s even better with the homemade Habanero BBQ sauce! Yummy and my first Tennessee BBQ. The place was busy so I shared a table with the local EMT crew so we got to chat about the local Lynchburg gossip.
Grilled cheese on Crack
The entire town square is surrounded by shops where you can buy all sorts of Jack Daniel’s goods, as well as sample foods infused with JD. I tried Whisky ice cream and Whisky fudge. I did not buy the $3 giant dill pickle soaked in Whisky.
Before driving back to Nashville, I drove down a couple country roads as it was a beautiful day.