A whiskey icon ~ The slave who taught Jack Daniels
In the late 1800s, in the hills above Lynchburg, TN, a young preacher/farmer, named Dan Call had a small whiskey distillery down the road, which made a silky smooth, maple-sweet whiskey that was highly regarded. The man who distilled the whiskey was a black slave named Nathan Green, known affectionately as Uncle Nearest, who used a special technique of charcoal filtering he had learned when cleaning water in West Africa. This method of filtering whiskey through sugar maple tree charcoal became known as the famous ‘Lincoln method’ and is still used today.
In the 1850s, a young, white boy, named Jasper, asked Reverend Call for work. The Reverend gave him chores, but Jasper became fascinated by what was going on at the distillery. Eventually, after much begging, Jasper was introduced to Nathan, who was told to teach Jasper what he knew. A natural entrepreneur, Jasper started selling the whiskey as far and wide as he could.
The thirteenth amendment was passed on Dec. 1865, and Nathan became a free man. Not long after, Jasper bought the distillery and named it after himself, using the name he preferred and what the locals called him: Jack Daniel. He asked Nathan to be his master distiller, which Nathan happily accepted. The men worked together until Nathan retired.
For whatever reason, Nathan’s story was lost for a long time. However, a new distillery was built just down the road from Jack Daniel’s, where Nathan’s descendants work today. Appropriately, it was named after the true founding father of Tennessee Whiskey: Nathan Green. Uncle Nearest.
Three Uncle Nearest Whiskies to try are:
* 1884 Small Batch Whiskey—This seven-year-aged whiskey commemorates the final year Nearest is believed to have put his own whiskey into barrels before retiring. Lighter in style and proof than the 1856.
* 1856 Premium Aged Whiskey—This whiskey includes flavors of raisins, butter, vanilla and soft cinnamon spice.
* 1820 Nearest Green Single Barrel Edition—Aged a minimum of 11 years.