Mission Impossible

About four months ago a good friend of mine told me about a very special bottle of Jack Daniels that he wanted. His Father, who recently passed, was a huge fan of Jack Daniels and Frank Sinatra. In December Jack Daniels announced that they would be selling a special “Sinatra Select” whiskey, and my friend decided he had to have it.


The trick here is that the whiskey is only sold at the distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee, and in a few random airports’ duty free shops. Knowing that Husband often travels to Tennessee for work or family, my friend asked if we could possibly pick up a bottle for him…. And so our mission began.

We thought this would be an easy enough task; an interesting buy and a great favor for someone we think is great. We were actually in Nashville for the holidays and flew back to NYC on January 1, 2013. Excitedly we thought we would be one of the very first people to ever purchase this special Frank Sinatra whiskey. We were disappointed to find it had not been distributed to the Nashville airport yet.

No problem. Plan B, Husband was flying back for work a few weeks later, he could get it then. Still no whiskey in the airport, so Husband called the distillery. Guess what? No Sinatra Select available there either…hmmm.

At this point, our friend Steve (the friend who married us) decided he wanted to help. Plan C, Steve lives in Nashville and thought he could be our Tennessee accomplice. Once Husband flew back to NYC, Steve took over as our TWA (Tennessee Whiskey Agent). Steve called the distillery to find out the exact date the Sinatra Select would be put on the shelf, (Feb. 15-19) and researched the story behind the whiskey…

Frank and Jack were basically BFF’s. Frank drank Jack’s whiskey before every show and the two of them traveled the world together. They were such great friends that Jack actually had a special barrel made to create an extra dark whiskey for his friend Frank, and no one else. Frank’s barrel has extra grooves on the inside of the barrel to expose the whiskey to extra layers of Oak, so it’s rich and flavorful.


In the next month Husband flew to Nashville a couple of more times with no luck. We also called and emailed the distillery numerous times (Plan D). We asked if we could buy a bottle, review a bottle, or get a bottle in any way possible. Again, no luck.

Finally on February 16th, Husband surprised me with a trip to Disneyland California. We flew out of JFK airport and guess what we found in the Duty Free shop?! We actually got to see and hold the bottle. We were jumping with excitement, but were quickly disappointed to learn we were not allowed to buy liquor from the Duty Free shop unless traveling internationally.

Fine. No big deal. Steve was working on carrying out his part of the mission in Lynchburg. This was the one and only weekend the Jack Daniels distillery said they’d be selling the Sinatra Select and Steve managed to find nearby refuge so he could go to the distillery each day until he found it on the shelves (Plan E).

By the time we were flying home from California, the distillery had still not put out the whiskey…this is especially frustrating considering the whiskey is made there and only there. Not only that, but NO ONE could tell us where or when we could actually purchase this impossible to get whiskey.

When we landed in JFK I decided enough was enough…we are getting this whiskey! Plan F was to find a new accomplice, an international accomplice. There is a food court located right outside of the Duty Free shop in the airport. Husband took a seat; I freshened up my makeup and began scouting fellow travelers. I walked from table to table asking friendly looking people if they were traveling internationally, none were.

Fine. I moved on to the Duty Free shop. I pretended to play on my phone and secretly watched shoppers. A few minutes later a young guy with a backpack walked out, Bingo!

I quickly began following the young guy and managed to strike up a conversation with him. He was friendly and his name was Esteban (as in the Spanish Steve!), I took this as a good sign and decided to recruit my new friend. Turned out that Esteban was indeed traveling internationally and more than happy to help me out.

Okay, this next part makes me sound like an idiot, but I’d prefer if you think of me as trusting and hopeful. We were standing at Esteban’s gate, unable to see the Duty Free shop. I handed my new friend $200 and sent him on his way. Immediately I texted Husband who was sitting in front of the shop, to let him know the plan was in action.


He updated me every 30 seconds…

Esteban is in.

Whiskey is in his hands.

Checking out.

Walking out, no bag.

Going opposite direction…

F#@% come back!

At this point, I began running and preparing my story for police officers…How do I explain handing a complete stranger that much cash?

Wait, he’s coming back.

By the time I stopped running I could see Esteban walking towards me. Turns out that he did buy the whiskey, but as he left they informed him that he couldn’t take the whiskey. They will give him the whiskey when he is on the plane. So he left, walked the opposite direction, then went back and returned it. He gave me my money back, a hug and asked for my number.

Ugh… We left feeling incredibly frustrated, but not hopeless. We never give up. Seriously, never. When I want something, really want something I find a way to get it. I can be very crafty.

Onto Plan G…The last week of February Husband flew back to Nashville and again attempted to buy the whiskey with Steve. Every. Single. Day. Husband got the same response every day. “Sorry, still not here”.

On the way to the airport he got a call from the lady he had been emailing from Jack Daniel’s PR. She casually let him know that the Sinatra Selection has just been released in all Tennessee liquor stores. So, on the way to the airport Husband stopped in a plain ol’ boring liquor store and purchased the whiskey completely legally…no secret agents or espionage involved.

I have to say when he showed up with this giant bottle of whiskey I have never been more excited, and I don’t even like whiskey!

You may be wondering why I look weird here...it's because I have on no makeup.
You may be wondering why I look weird here…it’s because I have on no makeup.

Mission accomplished. Big thanks to Steve and Esteban for your many efforts.

BTW, we tried the whiskey and it taste a lot like whiskey, although I’m positive that Jack Daniel’s fans or whiskey drinkers will say different


5 Replies to “Mission Impossible”

  1. Great story

  2. I am looking for a bottle as well for my boyfriends birthday. Any updates on availability?

    1. Nope, as far as I know the only options are still duty free or a liquor store in TN. Sorry!

      1. tina vaughn says: Reply

        my husband was really hoping to buy some from the duty free at the orlando airport. is that the law at all of the airports? jack daniels sucks if this is the case. how much was it?

        1. Unfortunately, yes, all airports have this rule. I think it costs $160. Sorry, it does suck that it’s so hard to get!

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