George Dickel Bourbon
I was recently in my favorite Midwestern grocery store and as I reviewed their expanded whiskey selection, George Dickel Bourbon Whiskey - in a gold label bearing an 8-year age statement caught my eye. We've reviewed several other whiskey selections from Dickel, including the popular 13-Year Bottled-in-Bond, a smooth George Dickel Hand Selected Barrel, and the everyday George Dickel #12. While these have been Tennessee Whiskeys, it's great to see Dickel taking the next step and offering a traditional bourbon.
Bourbon and Tennessee Whiskey
Bourbon and Tennessee Whiskey have similar roots. Both are distilled from a mash bill containing at least 51% corn, with the finished distillate going into newly charred oak barrels to age until maturity. In between those two steps is where the differences lie.
To be bourbon, no added flavors or colors are allowed to be added to the distillate entering the barrel, and while the finished product may be filtered after aging, filtering it prior to aging would impart additional flavors.
Tennessee Whiskeys have traditionally used what is called the Lincoln County Process. Following distillation, the unaged spirits are charcoal filtered (often made from hard sugar maple trees). At Dickel, the new distillate passes through the charcoal over a 7-10 day period. Distillers discovered that the whiskey was smoother following the filtering and aging.
The Cascade Hollow Distillery - home to the Dickel brands - has passed through several hands, including Schenley Industries, and currently, Diageo PLC. Master Distiller Nicole Austin has been cranking out award-winning products one after another since moving into that title role in 2018. Let's see if this 8-year bourbon is worthy of the Dickel name.
The mash bill is the standard Dickel grain blend: 84% corn, 8% wheat, and 8% malted barley. The golden label states that it is 8 years old and has been bottled at 90 proof and has been charcoal chill filtered.
Eye: Golden amber
Nose: Apple crisp with crunchy oatmeal-brown sugar topping, served with caramel pecan ice cream topping.
Palate: A delicious chew. Red delicious apple, caramel dipping sauce, balanced with oak char and pepper spice.
Finish: Medium-long with vanilla, spice, and light oak.
Overall: I found this at a regional grocery store for about $31. Proudly wearing an 8-year age statement, this is another great release from the Cascade Hollow Distillery. I've wondered for a long time why a Tennessee whiskey company, with a mash bill and process so close to traditional bourbon, didn't cross the line and release a bourbon. My days of waiting are over and this is one you should definitely give a shot.