So this post is a really exciting one for me. Lynchburg Tennessee was a bucket list item ticked off for definite. Having enjoyed Jack Daniel’s for many years and being an avid collector of JD memorabilia, we just had to go to Lynchburg on the Tennessee leg of our USA honeymoon road trip.
So we drove from the Smoky Mountains down to Lynchburg, it was quite a long drive and so took most of the day, but we wanted to arrive the day before the tour to give us a chance to check out the legendary town of Lynchburg. We would only be staying two nights, but really that’s all you’ll need. It’s so small you can see all the main sights in a day including the tour of the Jack Daniel’s Distillery if you were short on time, but this wasn’t about rushing for us, I wanted to take it all in!
We were staying at the Magnolia Cottage near the town square. There are a couple of choices for accommodation in Lynchburg but not loads, so if you want to stay in the town then book early. Alternatively, most people take the day trip from Nashville which is a short drive away. There are loads of options for this and prices do vary but check out Tennessee Whiskey Tours for a reasonable price. The travel time from Nashville to Lynchburg is around 90 minutes so if you are in Nashville and have hired a car, you could easily drive there and back in a day.
After a quick breakfast in Magnolia Cottage, we set off for a look around Lynchburg’s Historic Square. This is the part of town you might expect to see from any of the adverts for Jack Daniel’s on the TV. There’s the Moore County Courthouse which sits central to the square and around it are a number of wood and brick buildings with a covered walkway on each side of the courthouse, very much a western looking town.
The square is where you’ll find the Lynchburg Harley Davidson shop, as well as the famous Lynchburg hardware store, which is actually the Jack Daniel’s merchandise store. There are also a number of nice independent shops and the Lynchburg Winery, which offers wine tasting if you’re in the mood for something alcoholic other than JD.
You will of course not find a bar in the town square or anywhere other than the Winery or the Distillery to buy alcohol. Lynchburg is in the dry county of Moore County. So alcohol can only be purchased under certain circumstances. You can find full information on that HERE. The important thing is that you can buy a bottle of Jack Daniel’s as a memento of your visit but only from the Distillery itself.
After a look around the town, we took a short walk from the square to the Jack Daniel Distillery. From the start you can tell it’s going to be a treat, just as we headed up the drive a group of Harley riders pulled up in the car park, it all added the atmosphere, I was truly in America now.
You walk just a couple of minutes from the main road, up to the welcome center. If you already have tickets you just need to register your arrival at the desk, they will confirm your time and ask you to wait for your time being called out. You can either wait in the welcome center which is a mini-museum in itself with information on the history of not just the Distillery but Jack Daniel himself, and what a character he was.
You could choose to wait in the courtyard instead, just outside on a JD branded rocking chair made from one of the barrels, or if you have time you can peruse the White Rabbit bottle shop, or all spend time in all 3 locations if you arrive early enough. If you don’t have time beforehand you can still do all this after the tour.
So what about the tour itself, I don’t want to spoil anything so I won’t go into too many details. If you’re an avid Jack Daniel’s drinker, you get to see a lot of behind the scenes.
There are a number of different tours you can take, remember though that as you’re in the US to taste any Jack Daniel’s you’ll need to be over 21 and have a photo ID to prove it.
The Dry County Tour:
Perfect for the under 21’s or the T-Totallers out there. This takes in all the areas behind the scenes of the distillery but doesn’t end with a tasting. Lasts around 1hr 10 mins and costs $15.
The Flight of Jack Tour:
In addition to the tour, you’ll end with tasting which includes a sample of 5 Jack Daniel whiskeys: Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey, Gentleman Jack, and Jack Daniel’s Rye. Lasts around 1hr 30 mins and costs $20.
The Angel’s Share Tour:
In addition to the tour, you’ll end with tasting which includes Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel, Jack Daniel’s Barrel Proof, Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Rye & Jack Daniel’s Sinatra Select and Gold 27. Lasts around 1hr 30 mins and costs $25. This is the tour we took, and if you’re more familiar with the regular JD selection, and want to delve deeper into the world of Jack Daniels, then I would recommend this tour.
Taste of Lynchburg:
If you feel hungry and a little flush, then you can combine the Angel’s share tour with a meal at Miss Mary Bobo’s Boarding House Restaurant, which is also in Lynchburg. This lasts around 3Hrs and will cost you $100.
What to expect on the tour:
First, you are taken from the welcome center in a JD branded (of course) bus, up to the very top of the property to the Rick Yard. This is where the wood is burnt for the charcoal filtering. From here you walk the rest of the way back down to the welcome center.
Next stop is to take a quick look at the vintage fire engines, these are awesome, really fantastic condition and still in operation apparently.
After that, you wander around to the Cave Spring Hollow which is the reason for the location of the Distillery on this site and the secret behind the signature taste. Here you can get a photo next to the statue of the great man himself, Jack Daniel’s.
Next, you move on to the original office of Jack, a wooden two-room shack in its original location guarding the entrance to the spring. Here is the location of the infamous safe. If you don’t know about the safe I won’t spoil it for you.
From here you move into the real bowels of the operation. They show you the filtration tanks and you get to have a sniff. Don’t breath too deeply though, as it will take your breath away. You’re not allowed to take any pictures in this area, for obvious reasons, so you’ll just have to see this for yourself.
So on from here, you get to hear a bit about the barrelling and ageing processes, take a peek at the bottling plant, and you’re told a bit more about what makes the Single Barrel range so special.
Then it’s on to one of the Barrel Houses for those who have booked a tasting for what might be the main event of the tour. There is a special set up barrel house for this with tables set out for each person amongst the barrels. You are taken inside the building, which has barrels stacked from floor to ceiling, in the center in specially arranged glass rooms you can admire the barrels further. You’re sat at wooden desks which have already been set up with the samples, and tasting notes. Your tour guide takes you through each one in turn and then you get to keep a tumbler as a gift.
Note – anyone who is driving themselves for the day, each taster is only provided a very small amount of each whiskey, so you’ll still be able to drive afterward, by law they can’t offer any more than this. For those who aren’t driving, you might find yourself wanting more.
After the tasting, you end in the White Rabbit Bottle shop and just try and resist buying one or two bottles after your tour. They have an engraving service too so you can mark the occasion. As it was our honeymoon, we got one the bottles engraved with our wedding date.
After the tour was done we headed back into to town to look at all the merchandise in the hardware store, if you like collecting JD memorabilia then you’ll love this place as I do. You can find things here you just can’t get anywhere else.
After all the excitement we were definitely in need of something to eat. After dropping all our merchandise back at Magnolia Cottage we headed back to town to check out another Lynchburg landmark, one that would tick off another of our USA Travel Goals the Dive of our triple D visits – Barrel House BBQ. This restaurant is just off the main square and it was an absolute delight. Walls (and the ceiling for that matter) are covered in peoples tags – we added one too of course.
The BBQ was amazing and really good value. I had Ribs, with BBQ beans and potato salad and Sarah had smoked sausage with fries. We even had some leftover for later, which I polished off as soon as we got back to Magnolia Cottage, I couldn’t resist.
After dinner we took a walk just off the square to look at Miss Mary Bobo’s house where you can have lunch on the Taste of Lynchburg tour and strolled slowly back to spend our last night in Magnolia Cottage.
What a day! Truly a Jack Daniel fan’s dream come true, if you even have an inkling of enjoyment for Jack Daniel’s it’s a must, it certainly did not disappoint.