George Dickel 15-Year Single Barrel
We've had an opportunity to sample some solid whiskeys from George Dickel and the Cascade Hollow Distillery, including the basic George Dickel #12, the very popular 13-Year Bottled-in-Bond rendition, as well as a 9-year-old version.
Today we're reviewing a 15-year Single Barrel. Will we be able to taste anything but wood? Let's find out.
Since 2018, female Master Distiller Nicole Austin has been producing outstanding releases, including their annual Bottled-in-Bond release. To that, they have added a 15-year Single Barrel annual release at a very reasonable MSRP of $60.
It's incredible to see a 15-year product on the shelves at a price that could easily be doubled and no one would blink. Tennessee Whiskey and bourbon share similar corn-heavy mash bills and are aged in new oak barrels. However, unlike bourbon, Tennessee Whiskey is passed through maple charcoal prior to barreling, voiding its status as bourbon, but smoothing and mellowing the finished product.
The Cascade Hollow Distillery passed through a number of hands, including Schenley Industries, to ultimately end up owned by global spirits conglomerate Diageo PLC. The mash bill is the standard Dickel grain blend: 84% corn, 8% rye, and 8% malted barley. While bottles don’t disclose the barrel number, we do see this is bottle number 363, has been aged at least 15 years, and is bottled at a low 84.4 proof.
Eye: Medium amber with an array of parallel legs displayed in the glass.
Nose: Sweet and luscious, with apple-cherry brown betty, caramel, gently toasted oak. There is some light outdoorsiness to this whiskey, which compliments its age nicely. At 15 years, I was really expecting this to be pretty oak heavy, but this is surprisingly layered and fruity.
Palate: A rich mouthfeel. Vanilla, oak, dark cooked stone fruits feature prominently, followed gently by cocoa powder, oak and light spice.
Finish: Medium-long with cherry-vanilla, oak, and spice. This gives a lovely Tennessee hug.
Overall: My daughter found this at a liquor store in Lexington, Kentucky for $60. I recall when we conversed on the phone, and when I initially hesitated, she exclaimed, "Dad! It's 15 years old. That's a bargain!".
I couldn't agree more. This long-aged product is rich and flavorful, in spite of its low, approachable proof. At $60, this is a pretty incredible value. If Tennessee Whiskey has not always struck your palate, this one is definitely worth a try with its exceptional flavor and balance.