On our trip to Nashville, TN we tried hard to make the most of our Southern experience. As far as we could tell, a “southern experience” consists of drinking heavily while murmuring unspeakable things about the “Yankee” in the room. We decided to visit the Jack Daniels distillery located about an hour outside of Nashville in Lynchburg to fulfill the first half. The second? Well, we hoped they wouldn’t notice our carpet bag and Bronx Bombers jersey while on the tour. No way were we any match for their pitchforks. . . .
Ahhh Jack, we’ve spent so many nights dreaming of your Frock coat and broad brimmed hat. Is this the cuckoo costume of a loon with Little Man’s syndrome or a regal uniform of a king with a taste for fine whiskey and vision of success?
At 5’2” it could have been both for Mr. Jack Daniel - the tour promised to help sort it out. Not only would we obtain a behind the scenes at how our favorite bottle of debauchery is made, but apparently we would get a peek inside the life of the man that started it. As it became increasingly clear throughout the afternoon it didn’t matter what his costume meant. For, we found that Jack Daniels was one of the original American Hustlers. Bravo Jack, or shall we say…fo’ shizzle.
Our tour guide arrived to tell us Mr. Daniel’s drunken tale. We couldn’t understand his Southern drawl…or was that the effects of liver disease? Either way, we supposed that Jack would be proud. We know that we were especially impressed by his age, overalls, and grey hair peeping out of his ears. Even though he had a kink in his step, we could clearly see what drove him forward: his will to drink.
Listening hard, we gathered the story of Jack Daniel through his Southern twang/hepatitis. We will translate it so that you Northerners can understand. Jack was one of thirteen in a Scottish-Welsh family, brought into the winning world of whiskey at 10 and running a distillery by 16. In true hustla fashion, Jack disappeared at age 21. Rumor has it he went off to the city. Our main man returned some time later dressed in a frock coat and a fancy hat. Bling fuc*ing bling. He wore variations of this infamous combination every day for the rest of his life.
This wasn’t no bullsh** distillery, neither. Frowning upon the namby-pamby whiskey making of the time, Jack chose to produce his drink in only the finest way possible. Fu*k ‘dat other shit, ya know? Being the chill motherfu*ka that he was, he used a process known as “mellowing” - whiskey seeps through packed charcoal for 10 days to give it that smoky flavor we strive to swig. His business survived through the Civil War and was registered with the U.S. government in 1866. This makes it the oldest registered distillery in the country. Word.
In time Jack Daniel was a very wealthy man and able to fulfill his lifelong dream of buying more identical frock coats and fancy hats. Not to mention fuc*in hos.
As we rode through the land on a pimped out golf cart (we’re not sure of the southern word for “rode” that means ‘ominously wavered to the left and right as the tour guide kept turning his head to narrate to us’) we learned that our Jack was a ladies man…macking it to several women at once. He didn’t marry any singly of them. He may have had 99 problems but a bitch wasn’t one.
As the tale of Jack finished up, we arrived outside a room of fermenting barrels. The tour guide was mumbling something about dry blah blah – we didn’t care – we were too busy getting ready to taste Jack on his own turf, not to mention getting high off the fumes. We crept up to the room with the barrels and, what – it just dawned on us. Did he say dry county? Like one that can’t serve alcohol!
The guide said something to the effect of “I’ll be right back” and disappeared behind a wall. Shocked and appalled, clearly misled, we could only envy his drunkenness. Upon his return he laughed, revealing a toothless smile, his hands dripping wet. He then ran up to everyone forcing them to smell his hands…he had stuck his hand in a barrel and come back to taunt us with the sweet smell of whiskey. Some of the people tried to lick his fingers.
The yokel, playing games with us - this was worse than those piggy noises from Deliverance.
We continued our tour with long faces. Our frowns turned out to be appropriate as we moved into the final stages of whiskey making and the end of Jack’s biography. Solemnly the drunkard mumbled that one day Jack had trouble accessing his riches stored in a safe. Angry and driven by greed, he kicked the safe and developed gangrene in his toe. This was the reason for his death in 1911. We quietly rode up to his grave where there sat two empty chairs…apparently one for each girlfriend he had at the time. A pimp until the very end Jack was. Holla.
Last shop – the gift shop. They mockingly offered us lemonade to complete the tour. In the spirit of Jack we said F*** this that and purchased airplane bottles of whiskey to crack open on the ride back to Nashville…who was a hustlin’ nigga now?
Ratings – Jack Daniel’s Distillery – Lynchburg, VA
Drunk tour guide - 3 olives - It seemed like he knew what he was talking about . .uh.. .did he just drive our tour caddy into a ditch?...
Tour of the whiskey making process - 3 olives – It was “educational” enough to make us believe we cared why we ended up sleeping on the sidewalk after nights composed of Jack Daniels.
Not serving Jack Daniels on the tour - 0 olives – You think that sh** gettin olives?How bout we bust a pitchfork on your ass? There’s some fuc*in olives for ya.
A Yankee retelling the story of a great Southern drunkard – 4 olives – We think we did a pretty good job. We just can’t figure out a way to say “ya’ll” that isn’t “yous guys”.