In the world of Tennessee whiskey, George Dickel stands as a formidable player, second only to the titan Jack Daniel's. Recently, the brand made waves by unveiling its pièce de résistance, the George Dickel Bourbon Aged 18 Years, a rare and opulent expression that defies expectations and sets a new standard for American whiskey.
The Craftsmanship Behind the Liquid Gold
Situated in the quaint town of Tullahoma, the Cascade Hollow Distilling Co., under the stewardship of General Manager and Distiller Nicole Austin since 2018, has been the birthplace of Dickel's transformative journey. Breaking away from convention, Austin has propelled the brand into the limelight with innovative releases, such as the Bottled-in-Bond series and the experimental Cascade Moon lineup.
In a recent interview, Austin shed light on the intricacies of the bourbon-making process, acknowledging the blurred lines between bourbon and Tennessee whiskey. However, she stands firm in her conviction, stating, "This is my perspective of what I think of as a classic American whiskey flavor profile." The latest offering, the 18-year-old bourbon, is not merely an older iteration of its predecessor but a carefully curated selection that embodies the essence of Dickel's distinct flavor profile.
Unveiling the Elixir: Tasting Notes
Pouring a glass of George Dickel Bourbon Aged 18 Years reveals a liquid symphony, meticulously aged in charred oak barrels. Despite losing 70 to 80 percent in angel's share over two decades of Tennessee's unforgiving climate, the bourbon emerges as a testament to the delicate dance between time and craftsmanship.
On the palate, the discerning drinker encounters a medley of flavors—crème brulée leading into stone fruit, a harmonious blend of sweetness and depth. Surprisingly absent is the overpowering oaky punch one might expect from an 18-year-old spirit. Instead, there's a delicate interplay of sour apple, cherry-lime soda, chocolate-orange, and vanilla pudding, all leading to a warm and enduring finish, thanks to the 90 proof bottling.
A Price Tag Worthy of Craftsmanship
Priced at $510, George Dickel Bourbon Aged 18 Years may raise eyebrows for a brand traditionally associated with more accessible offerings. Austin, undeterred by skeptics, invites connoisseurs to trust in the rare and deeply rooted heritage encapsulated in each bottle. In her words, "Finding American whiskey this old is rare, especially with this flavor profile."
What Lies Ahead: A Glimpse into Dickel's Future
Nicole Austin tantalizingly hints at the exciting developments in the Dickel pipeline. Two new bottled-in-bond blends, including the oldest in the series to date, are on the horizon. Additionally, a collaborative release with Todd Leopold of Colorado's Leopold Bros. is in the works, possibly incorporating whiskey aged in refill barrels. The anticipation builds for what promises to be a continuation of Dickel's innovative journey in the world of premium whiskey.
Homage to Tradition and Excellence
The unveiling of Dickel Bourbon Aged 18 Years is not merely a product launch but a homage to the legacy of George A. Dickel, echoing the tradition of excellence that has defined the brand for over a century. The bourbon, with a mash bill of 84% corn, 8% rye, and 8% malted barley, represents a refined blend that pays tribute to the mature whiskies at the distillery, a perfect gift for the discerning bourbon collector.
Accolades and Celebrations
The debut of Dickel Bourbon Aged 18 Years comes on the heels of George Dickel being honored with the Wine Enthusiast's Wine Star Awards 2023 Spirit Brand of the Year. This recognition celebrates the brand's innovation and significant contributions to the world of wine and spirits.
An Invitation to Savor Slowly and Responsibly
As the holiday season approaches, George Dickel encourages enthusiasts to savor the Dickel Bourbon Aged 18 Years the same way it was crafted—slowly and responsibly. Available for a limited time in select markets across the US, this small-batch bourbon promises a sensory journey that transcends time and tradition, inviting all to indulge in the artistry of George Dickel's finest expression.
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About George Dickel
George Dickel is a Tennessee whiskey brand with a rich history dating back to the late 19th century. The brand was established by George A. Dickel, a German immigrant, in 1870. The distillery is located in Tullahoma, Tennessee, and it has played a significant role in the state's whiskey heritage. While often compared to bourbon, George Dickel produces Tennessee whiskey, which involves additional steps such as charcoal filtering, known as the Lincoln County Process.
One of the distinctive features of George Dickel Tennessee whiskey is its commitment to quality and craftsmanship. The brand is known for its meticulous attention to detail in the production process. The whiskey is made from a mash bill that typically includes corn, rye, and malted barley, and it undergoes charcoal mellowing drop by drop through sugar maple charcoal. This process imparts smoothness and mellowness to the final product.
George Dickel offers a range of expressions, including their No. 8, No. 12, and Barrel Select whiskies. The numbers in the names denote the various recipes and aging processes used, with the higher numbers generally indicating more extended aging and a richer flavor profile. Each expression reflects the brand's commitment to consistent quality and a well-balanced flavor profile.
The George Dickel Distillery is open to visitors, allowing them to explore the whiskey-making process firsthand. The distillery tours provide insights into the history of George Dickel, the Lincoln County Process, and the craftsmanship that goes into creating their signature Tennessee whiskey. The scenic setting of the distillery, nestled in the hills of Tennessee, adds to the overall experience for those interested in both the history and the flavors of George Dickel whiskey.