Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Lynchburg, TN

On the way from Nashville to New Orleans, a sign caught my attention. If I just turned left at the exit ahead, I would find the Jack Daniels Distillery in Lynchburg, TN. I have had friends describe their adventures of visiting the location, purchasing commemorative bottles that end up getting filled and sealed on site. Maybe it was my heartstrings being pulled, but taking a page out of a friend’s book, I thought to buy my daughter a bottle that would then be presented at her 21st birthday. I am always a sucker for a well planned gift even if I am not the best about keeping the secret of it until the official date of presentation. And with something like a bottle of whiskey, even if the cat is let out of the bag before presentation date, it is something I can hold off on.

Being in a technologically advanced era, usually I find myself searching maps to know where I’m headed. I usually am able to make a plan and stick with it. Yet this detour was one that I headed into with a certain sense of abandon. It was a beautiful enough drive, winding down country roads. And it was also about 20 miles off the original path when I typed in the destination. The location was still another 5 or so miles from where I was so I drove with the hope of finding something fitting to acquire.

When I arrived on that late December day, the parking lot was empty. I basically felt as though this was my very own “Wally World” moment from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. What I failed to register when I turned left was that on New Year’s Eve, most businesses would be closed. I guess my journey to Jack Daniels including a tour will have to be for another time.

I saved face by making my way back to the highway, about 2 gallons of gas lighter, and with a great shot of the boombox atop some whiskey barrels with some garland. For missing the mark, I didn’t feel as smooth as Tennessee Whiskey, nor as sweet as Strawberry Wine.

I chose this song for the post this week, as it was on heavy rotation for the trip to Tennessee. Chris Stapleton is a solid performer. While Dean Dillon and Linda Hargrove wrote the song as performed by David Allan Coe on his 1981 album of the same name, it is Stapleton’s blues reinterpretation and take on the song that resonates. It draws the listener in with a modified melody and charms with the chorus. It is simple, clean and packed with unbridled emotion.

Smooth, if ever served neat.

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