Had breakfast with Jim and Diane and then it was time to part ways. I must admit that the goodbyes were pretty emotional. I will miss these dear friends this winter.
What better way to perk up my spirits that to visit the Jack Daniels Distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee. What I didn't realize was that Lynchburg is located in a dry county so there were no "spirits" to lift my spirits - somehow the lemonade just didn't cut it!
Bettie, our guide, was an absolute hoot! So entertaining - a real Tennessee charmer. The tour lasted an hour and 20 minutes. We walked about a half mile and climbed about 110 steps. It was very similar to the tours Tom and I had taken on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail but I at least got to see what made "Tennessee sipping whiskey" different from bourbon. It is the 3-4 day filtration - drop by drop- of the alcohol through charcoal. The smell was divine ( do I sound like I like bourbon?) Pictures were not allowed inside the distillery.
Jack Daniels was born in Lynchburg - one of 13 children. He left home at a young age and went to live with Dan Call who owned a still and taught Jack whiskey making. Mr. Call decided to devote his life to being a Lutheran minister and sold the still to Jack when he was only 13 years old.
Jack discovered the cave with an unending supply of iron free spring water and started his distillery there. To today every bottle of Jack Daniels is made with water from that cave. It is the oldest registered distillery in the U.S. and is on the Registry of Historic Sites.
Lem Motlow, Jack's nephew ( Jack never married) always had the safe in the office opened before Jack came to work. One day Jack arrived early, the safe was locked, he couldn't remember the combination, became frustrated and hauled off and kicked the safe. His toe became infected ( diabetic?) and eventually he lost his toe and then more of his leg. Jack died from blood poisoning and his nephew inherited the distillery. Lem started a tradition, still honored, of giving every worker ( at present there are 400) a free bottle of Jack Daniels on the fourth Friday of the month.
No one knows why the No.7 is on the bottle but there are all kinds of theories - Jack had 7 girlfriends, the perfected recipe happened on the 7th trial batch, etc. - all conjecture. Jack took that secret with him to his grave.