Review: George Dickel Tabasco Barrel Finish

Listen, if you’ve never been to the Tabasco factory outside of New Orleans, Louisiana, you should go. Not only will you get to taste Tabasco and watch a movie about Tabasco, you will learn about Tabasco: Specifically, that the sauce spends years in a wooden barrel, covered with salt, as it ferments. What happens to those barrels afterwards? Well, I don’t remember that part of the movie, but I do know that some of them are going to George Dickel up-north in Tennessee, where they are doing a crazy thing by finishing Dickel whiskey in the used pepper-packed barrels.

This is made by taking rack Dickel (no age statement but probably Cascade Hollow’s youngest offering or below) and aging it in Tabasco barrels for an additional 30 days.

Is this peak whiskey at its finest? A crazy stunt? Let’s find out…

You really can’t smell the Tabasco. Maybe a hint of prickliness that exceptionally sensitive drinkers might pick up, but by and large the typical trappings of Dickel dominate: fresh wood, spice, honey, and a hint of ash. The deeper you breathe, the sharper things get, with the chile finally coming forth on the palate. It’s instantly warming with a black and red pepper sharpness on the upper palate — then soothing with classic notes of caramel corn, vanilla ice cream, and butterscotch. Lots of sweetness to temper the heat; surely doctored. It’s all warming, not sharp, on the finish, though a certain vegetal character comes through, evoking the Tabasco proper.

I’m still not sure if this is a crazy stunt or not, but let’s give credit to Dickel for aging this whiskey in real Tabasco barrels instead of just dumping chemical flavorings into the mix. As exciting as Fireball can be on a Thursday night, I will give Dickel a nod for successfully creating an elevated version of a “spicy” whiskey. As far as pepper-flavored (not cinnamon-flavored) whiskeys go, it’s easily the best on the market.

70 proof.


George Dickel Tabasco Barrel Finish




Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content creation company.


  1. dan on August 18, 2018 at 1:48 pm

    I’m pretty sure this is a stunt because Dickel’s new master distiller has already distanced herself from this project which started long before she did.

    • Christopher Null on August 18, 2018 at 2:37 pm

      Stunt or not, I don’t think the product is garbage. But for what it’s worth, I don’t think any master bourbon distiller is out there whip up a bunch of pepper flavored whiskey.

  2. Anonymous on October 7, 2018 at 12:25 pm

    I prefer the Dickel with the Tabasco with 7up is fabulous.scale of 1-10 I give it a 9 1/2

  3. John Castle on January 27, 2020 at 9:21 pm

    This is one of my favorite whiskeys, stunt or not. I had never considered Fireball (not a fan of cinnamon) but when my neighborhood hooch depot had this on sale for $10/750ml, I wouldn’t let ’em keep it on the shelf. No call for mixing it (and at 70 proof, it’s already more than tame enough) unless you want to make micheladas with it. Otherwise, glass to gullet is the way to go.

  4. K Rogers on July 11, 2020 at 8:40 am

    How much you like this will depend on how much you like Tabasco sauce and Dickle whiskey. I like both and think it’s fantastic. A true marriage of TN whiskey and tabasco, including the re-purposed barrel finishing. The spicy sweet flavor is totally unique and delicious.

  5. Martin on March 23, 2021 at 10:52 pm

    It’s surprisingly natural and not overwhelming, I understand the concept:“ey, let’s age the whiskey in Tabasco barrels instead of regular charred oak,, I like the idea..! And it has come into ftuitition, you know it’s a classy restaurant when you see Tabasco on the table.

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