Regular readers of this site may remember I’m more of a Bourbon guy than a Tennessee Whiskey guy. Odd, I know, considering I’m a native Tennessean (Nashville). I’ve just never developed a love for Tennessee Whiskey, no matter the purveyor.
I have to admit, however, the new George Dickel Bottled in Bond Tennessee Whisky (spelled without the “e”, in the Scottish tradition) really caught my attention when it was listed as the #1 Whisky for 2019 by Whisky Advocate. It caught my attention even more when someone gifted me a bottle this past Christmas.
Bottled and distilled at the Cascade Hollow Distillery, this 13-year-old, bottled-in-bond whisky is a limited release, 100-proof whisky that is perfect neat, on the rocks, or in your favorite cocktail. In case you’re unaware, “bottled in bond” whiskies must be produced during one distillation season, by one distiller, at one location, with a minimum age of 4 years, and bottled at 100 proof. This particular version of George Dickel Tennessee Whisky was distilled in the fall of 2005 and was 13 years old at bottling.
Like almost all Tennessee Whiskies, George Dickel Bottled in Bond Tennessee Whisky undergoes the Lincoln County Process prior to aging, which requires filtering the whisky through sugar maple charcoal. Unlike all Tennessee Whiskies, George Dickel chills its whiskies before filtration. According to an old Dickel advertising slogan, it makes their whiskies “Mellow as Moonlight”. After tasting this whisky, I would concur.
George Dickel Bottled in Bond Tennessee Whisky was the first whisky produced under the direction of female general manager and head distiller Nicole Austin. It is affordable at about $35/bottle, but it’s also well-aged and very good.
The mash bill consists of 84% corn, 8% rye, and 8% malted barley. The color is a deep amber or copper-like, and it’s very clear. No cloudiness whatsoever. The smell is closer to medium than light, with notes of vanilla, caramel, and just a hint of butterscotch. When you taste it, you’ll notice warmth (but not too much), vanilla, caramel and oak. Others don’t mention sweetness, but I think the whisky has the perfect touch of sweetness to it – perhaps it’s the vanilla. It finishes medium to long with more vanilla and perhaps some oak. Overall, the whisky is very well balanced with a soft feel.
After a couple of different samplings with company, I think it’s fair to say I will make this whisky a permanent member of my liquor cabinet. I would say that even if it cost more, but at $35 a bottle, it’s a definite winner. I might be a Tennessee Whisky guy, after all.