Jack Daniel's toasts Frank Sinatra with new whiskey

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The maker of Jack Daniel's is toasting Frank Sinatra with a new rendition of Ol' Blue Eyes' favorite whiskey.

Jack Daniel's Sinatra Select will sell at major airports worldwide and high-end retail stores in the U.S. and perhaps abroad, said James Perry, an executive with Louisville-based Brown-Forman Corp., parent of Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey.

The new ultra-premium spirit was aged in special "Sinatra barrels" at the brand's distillery in Tennessee, the company announced Tuesday. The result is a darker amber color than classic Jack Daniel's.

"Dad would be very flattered by the association," Frank Sinatra Jr. said.

The rollout is aimed at high rollers. Packaged in a specially designed 1-liter bottle, the special-edition whiskey is expected to sell for at least $150 per bottle. The package includes a gift box and book retelling Sinatra's devotion to the whiskey he called the "Nectar of the Gods."

Sales are expected to reach into the tens of thousands of cases in the first 18 months, Perry said in a phone interview.

For decades, Sinatra would offer a toast to his audiences with a glass of Jack Daniel's in his hand.

"This fine Tennessee Whiskey, or Old No. 7 as he referred to it, was a favorite part of my father's life and he loved both sharing it with his friends and introducing it to new acquaintances," Frank Sinatra Jr. said in a release.

With the centennial of the singer-actor's birthday approaching in 2015, Brown-Forman decided it was fitting to pay tribute to perhaps the most famous fan of Jack Daniel's. Sinatra died in 1998 at age 82.

"He is this timeless individual," Perry said. "He takes you back to a time when life was a little bit more elegant."

Selected by Master Distiller Jeff Arnett, the barrels used to make the special Sinatra whiskey were crafted to provide the darker amber color by exposing the spirit to extra layers of toasted wood on the inner surfaces of the barrels.

Whiskey from the barrels is mingled with classic Jack Daniel's, resulting in a spirit with hints of oak and spice with a smooth vanilla finish.

Even the site selected to debut the special whiskey is a tribute to Sinatra.

Jack Daniel's Sinatra Select will first go on sale at the Las Vegas airport on Dec. 1, Perry said. Early next year, the new offering will spread to airports in such cities as New York, London, Sydney and Singapore. Within a year, the product is expected to reach about 200 major airports, he said. It also will be on shelves at high-end retail stores in the U.S. and perhaps elsewhere in the first half of next year, he said.

The product also will be available at the Jack Daniel's distillery in Lynchburg, Tenn., in 2013.

It's the latest in a trend in which spirits companies have cashed in on the popularity of pricey, super-premium whiskeys.

"There's a segment of that consumer group around the world that's willing to spend for very high quality, luxury items, and whiskey is no different," Perry said.

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