George Dickel Hand Selected Barrel
Not too long ago, we reviewed the very popular 13-Year Bottled-in-Bond rendition from the Cascade Hollow Distillery. We’ve also had a chance to sample the readily available, though much younger, George Dickel #12. Today, a little bit like Goldilocks, we’re trying something in-between - George Dickel Hand Selected Barrel - a 9-year-old Tennessee style whiskey.
We shared the story of the George Dickel brand in earlier posts. Since 2018, female Master Distiller Nicole Austin has been cranking out award-winning products. While bourbon and Tennessee Whiskey are similar, there are some distinct differences.
Bourbon and Tennessee Whiskey begin as a similar product: both 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 utilize 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.
And there you have it - why Tennessee Whiskey, including George Dickel and Jack Daniels, is not bourbon. Tuck that away and share that factoid at the next office happy hour and amaze your friends.
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. Barrels are aged for 9 years, handcrafted in small batches, and bottled at 103 proof.
Nose: Fried apple pie, with caramelized brown sugar, cinnamon spice, and grandma's pie dough.
Palate: A rich mouthfeel. Vanilla and oak feature prominently, followed quickly by a cascade of oak char and black pepper spice.
Finish: Medium-long with vanilla-laden oak and spice.
Overall: Found at or near $50, along with a 9-year age statement, this is fine Tennessee whiskey. While I'm a fan of the great 13-year Bottled-in-Bond products coming from George Dickel, if you find those a little too bold for your palate, or just unavailable in your area, this Hand-Selected barrel might be more your style. A few years less in the barrel still leave a velvety smooth whiskey well-balanced with oak and spice.