Jasper Newton Daniel was born September 5, 1847 in Lynchburg, Tennessee, a small town founded in 1801.
At the age of nine (oh, they grow up so fast) he left home to strike out on his own. He ended up at the home of Dan Call, a preacher at a nearby Lutheran church and the owner of a general store. There, Reverend Call also happened to sell whiskey that he distilled himself. Jasper showed an interest in learning to distill whiskey and was paired up with a slave, Nathan Green, who was a master distiller. Nathan was born into slavery and emancipated after the Civil War. He continued with Reverend Call as a freeman.
Jasper learned his craft well. A short distance from the Call property was a spring in a cave, where the water temperature was a constant 56 degrees. Perfect water for whisky. The property was purchased and Jack began his distillery.
We toured the distillery. Barbara took the wet tour and I the dry.
Jack Daniel’s is a Tennessee Whiskey as opposed to a Bourbon because the whiskey goes through a charcoal mellowing process while it is still moonshine. Then it heads to the barrel to age, just like Bourbon.
I didn’t have to taste the whiskey, as between smelling the fermentation and the charcoal mellowing, I was high.
This safe killed Jack Daniels.
One morning in 1906, Jack arrived at his office before anybody else. He tried to access the company safe, but had a terrible time remembering the code. After a few frustrating minutes, he kicked the safe as hard as he could. He badly bruised his left foot and immediately began to walk with a limp. The limp only grew worse with time, and he later discovered the injury had led to blood poisoning. Then came gangrene, then amputation, and then death.