When dead men return from the great beyond to sell whiskey you know it must be good! Two famous men who championed Jack Daniels when they were alive have been pressed into service once again in order to sell some very rare and sought after Tennessee Whiskey; Jack Daniels 1954 Gold Medal and Jack Daniels Sinatra Select. As we have acquired a limited number of these bottles, I thought I would take the time to explain the story behind them and what makes them that little bit extra special.
Jack Daniels 1954 Gold Medal
This special bottling commemorates the Brussels Belgium Star Of Excellence that Jack Daniels won in 1954 and the man who became a local hero because of it. A letter was sent to the Jack Daniels Distillery in Lynchburg informing them of a whisky judging competition in Belgium. The job of sending the whiskey was given to Herb Fanning, the right hand man of the distillery’s boss’s son.
Herb was from simple country stock and had no appreciation of marketing finesse. He marched straight down to the production line and scooped up the first few bottles that he saw, sending them off to Belgium without a second thought. When word of this reached the marketing department, they were not impressed and asked Herb why he had not procured a special whisky to send to the competition. Herb was exasperated at the question and replied “Why all Jack Daniels is special!”
Herb’s future with the company looked bleak until a timely letter arrived congratulating the distillery on being awarded the Star Of Excellence. It was time for the hotshots in advertising to eat humble pie and they offered Herb the chance to star in an advert for the brand! He appeared in many such adverts over the years and became something of a local legend in Lynchburg and continued to have a very successful career at the company until he retired many years later.
This bottling celebrates Herb’s unshakeable faith in the brand and the honest outlook of the company’s employees in the Deep South. You can get your bottle of Jack Daniels 1954 here but hurry because there are less than a handful left!
Jack Daniels Sinatra Select
Whilst Herb Fanning may only have been known to his local community (I had never heard of him before I researched the story), Frank Sinatra is a name that every single person in the world knows (near enough anyway!).
Sinatra was an avid consumer of Jack Daniels whiskey and it would always appear on stage with him throughout his career. He called it “the nectar of the gods” and favoured the traditional serve of ‘three rocks, two fingers and a splash of water.’ These days it’s pretty common for celebrities to endorse alcohol brands (see this Jim Beam article) or start their own but Frank was different – he never got paid a single penny by Jack Daniels!
It all started in the 40s when Jack Daniels was just a small local whiskey brand that no one outside of Tennessee had heard of. Sinatra and his friend Jackie Gleason were drinking in a bar when Frank asked Jackie to suggest a drink that would “get him smashed”. Jackie mentioned that JD would be a good drink to start with and Frank immediately fell in love with it. After that night, he was rarely seen without a glass or bottle of it nearby. He even took his favourite drink to his grave in 1998 as he was buried with a hip flask of the whiskey.
Due to Frank’s unparalleled success, his endorsement of Jack Daniels single-handedly raised the brand from a local commodity to America’s best selling whiskey. Again, remember that his recommendation was authentic and genuine, how many times do we see that today?
Listen to Frank and get your bottle of Jack Daniels Sinatra Select here.