Uncle Nearest represents the kind & sweet Tennessee uncle you never knew you had. It’s oaky, refreshing, and smooth against your palate.
His whiskey distillery from Tennessee prepares a premium aged whiskey that is mellowed using the Lincoln County Process, a unique method that filters the bourbon through sugar maple charcoal. This process requires sugar maple staves to be burnt and grounded into chunks, then using said chunks to make a distilling bed that’s between ten and 13 feet deep. This distilling technique was brought to Tennessee by enslaved people like Green who then passed it on to larger operations like Jack Daniels.
Nathan Green was born in 1820, some say in Maryland and others say in Tennessee. Although little is known about his early years, we do know he started working in Tennessee in the mid 19th century. Green was enslaved by a man named Dan Call, a preacher and distiller. Green, or as his friends called him, “Uncle Nearest,” worked on the distillery, making whiskey for Call.
One day, a young Jack Daniels was brought to the distillery, and Call asked Green to teach him everything he knew about distilling whiskey, and Daniels sold the whiskey any way he could. Green was a free man when the Civil War came to an end and worked for Jack Daniels Distillery as its first master distiller, but only after his death was he recognized as a master distiller. Green and his descendants continued to work at the distillery for many years, and soon he became widely known as one of the best distillers of his time.
Uncle Nearest distillery is located in Shelbyville, Tennessee, where the company owns over three hundred acres of land where the original Jack Daniels Distillery once stood—the same one Nathan Green worked on back in the day and helped teach Jack Daniels himself.
Nowadays, the Uncle Nearest distillery works alongside two other local distilleries that make Tennessee whiskey, barreling close to the same 110-proof that Uncle Nearest was known for.
As the years passed, the legacy of Nathan Green was mostly forgotten until the debut of the Uncle Nearest distillery in 2017. Since its inception, this distillery has earned 75 different prizes for its whiskeys. More than that, it has earned “World’s Best” at Whisky Magazine’s 2019 World Whiskies Awards.
Cigar & Spirits Magazine also named Uncle Nearest one of the “Top 5 Whiskies in the World.” The American Whiskey magazine judge Peggy Noe Stevens gave the 1884 Small Batch Tennessee Whiskey a score of 8.5 for the oaky smell and aromatic, woody notes of brown sugar pecan that fills the palate with hints of coconut, walnut, maple syrup, and a cinnamon finish.
According to Peggy Noe Stevens, the cinnamon flavor lingers with oak tannins and continues with “campfire notes.” She even commented that the whiskey does a good job of balancing the complexity of the flavor and smell. The whiskeys are distilled using the company’s own non-temperature-controlled aging process and it’s a unique double filtration method that is meant to significantly change the characteristics and profile of the original whiskeys.
The 1856 Premium Aged Whiskey is a blend of premium aged whiskeys between eight and 14-years old. The drink has a caramel color with a deep golden hue and a smell comparable to baled hay and pumpkin seeds, coupled with subtle notes of ripe stone fruit and caramel corn.
The taste that follows is bold and spicy upfront then mellows with sweet caramel and maple—much like biting into an oatmeal raisin cookie. The finishing touch is long and rich. The aftertaste lingers pleasantly sweet on the palate with notes of vanilla after the spice flavor dissipates.
Distilled in small batches in the Tennessee distillery, the whiskey is filtered in through charcoaled maple and then left to age in charred oak barrels for a minimum of 11 years before being served to the public. It also boasts a 50% ABV.
The final whiskey Uncle Nearest offers to the public is also one of the most demanding. Out of all the whiskeys that Uncle Nearest produces, less than 1% are chosen to become Single Barrels. In order for a whiskey to be a candidate for the Uncle Nearest 1820, a barrel of whiskey must be aged at least eleven years in a barrel with a cask strength of more than 108.
From all the barrels that fit these requirements, only one of them is hand-picked by the founders of Uncle Nearest and is then approved by a panel of whiskey industry professionals to see if the barrels fit to be in the Single Barrel Edition. This has made these single barrels very special, and worth the wait, for true whiskey lovers.
The rich history of Nathan Green, and his far-reaching influence, is crucial knowledge for a whiskey enthusiast. His legacy has lived for many years through his descendants and the people that the original “Uncle Nearest” taught. Until recently, he wasn’t adequately credited for his achievements. However, as time passed, more and more people sought to find out more about his life and the place he had in history. Some would say that history, like a well-aged whiskey, only got better.