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Whiskey, music and a synaesthetic flavour experience: The bold flavours of Jack Daniel’s Bonded

The use of extramusical adjectives to describe the expressive character of a piece of music or the syntactic characteristics of its composition is quite common and often inevitable when discussing music, thus a sound event could be perceived to be e.g. “sweet”, “rough” or “bright”.

However, If Electric Wizard tastes like a spicy serving of custard and Mozart’s String Quartet No.5 in D major like sliced pineapple, it may not just be your gluttony speaking.

Lexical–gustatory synaesthesia is defined as a rare form of sense impression which cross-wires cognitive pathways between sounds and written language as well as colours and emotions, thereby making music a smorgasbord of experiences that enables individuals to experience an automatically induced and highly consistent taste / smell, resulting in a strange yet delightful buffet of flavours.

The synesthetic tastes are usually irrepressible in nature, evoked by a sensory inducer / stimulus complex and are often experienced as a complex mixture of both temperature and texture.

Now, how great would it be if we were to experience the glorious flavour nuances of whiskey in all its bold hues, accompanied and further enhanced by the vibrant sound of an orchestra in crescendo?

Enter Jack Daniel’s.

Based on a collaboration between the University of Oxford’s leading sensory academic, Professor Charles Spence, and the award decorated ensemble that is String Musicians Australia, a music track was composed based on a scientifically proven approach to enhance the bold flavours of Jack Daniel’s recently released Bonded expression, which is the brand’s first super-premium drop in twenty-five years.

Using carefully calibrated layers of melodic piano, low-pitched cello and high tempo violin, the Sound of Bonded track was recorded in a bid to artfully enhance the whiskey’s caramel, oak and spice flavour notes and performed live at Sydney’s Hickson House on Thursday 18th May, to celebrate the launch of this innovative endeavour.

Eased into proceedings by an introduction of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey Master Distiller and Director of Quality, Chris Fletcher, who on a daily basis uses his sensory skills to ensure the world’s top-selling whiskey is both in constant supply and in alignment with its high standards it has become appreciated for, and Brown Forman Brand Ambassador par excellence Andrew Tsai, individual tracks of the Sound of Bonded composition were played via noise cancelling headphones, which allowed one to focus, meditate and reflect on the synergy of musical and flavour accompaniments.

Now, while the standard Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey owns its niche like few others, Jack Daniel's Bonded Series ups the ante as it is based on a Triple Mash Bill and as per definitionem can only be distilled by a single distiller during one distillation season.

It can also only age it in a government-bonded warehouse for at least four years and needs to be bottled at 50% ABV, which I personally love as it adds a welcome layer of oomph.

Amplified by the subtle musical accompaniments, Bonded’s aromas explode from the Glencairn from the get go: A melange of bonfire toffee, burnt butter, sweet caramel, vanilla and the quintessential Jack Daniel’s banana scent tickle the nostrils with rich intensity, bringing forth maple sugar candy and a touch of seasoned oak.

The rich aroma sets up and foreshadows the sip that follows.

On the top of the mouth, maple sugar candy is married with caramel, toasted marshmallows and burnt oaky highlights at the onset. Hints of banana make a faint appearance, yet are quickly eclipsed by a nicely calibrated backing of alcoholic warmth.

The medium-length finish is characterised by a delicate wave of spicy heat, caramel, burnt oak and whispers of banana, carried by a reverberating spicy heat, thereby both bookending and exceeding the expectations that were set by the nose.

While Jack Daniel’s Bonded ticks all the boxes of what the brand has become known and appreciated for in terms of running the gamut of JD’s distinct signature flavour profile, it adds a dimension of depth with its rich maple sugar characteristics adding caramel and nutty flavours. and cranks up the heat enough to add a more pronounced bite due to clocking in at a particularly potent 50% ABV

Music and whiskey lovers can replicate the experience via the Jack Daniel’s website:


Words by AW.

Photos courtesy of Jack Daniel's.

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