George Dickel is awfully late to the Bottled in Bond party, but here it is at last, with a 13 year old Tennessee Whiskey spearheaded by Nicole Austin, the company’s new head distiller and general manager.
Distilled in 2005, this release comes from the same mash as Dickel’s other whiskeys — 84% corn, 8% rye and 8% malted barley — and undergoes the Lincoln County charcoal mellowing process required of anything bearing the name “Tennessee whiskey.”
Old Dickel can sometimes be iffy, so I’m keeping my skeptic’s hat on for the time being. Let’s dig in.
The nose features everything you’d want in a bonded bourbon — dark caramel, baking spice galore, and well-integrated barrel char that gives everything a slightly toasty, gently savory note. Everything in that lineup follows through directly on the palate, the barrel char giving way just a bit to let notes of eucalyptus emerge, as well as a richly nutty character, hints of orange peel, and just a touch of cinnamon roll sweetness. There’s a bit of fireplace ash on the finish, but this doesn’t really detract from the experience at all, serving instead to impregnate it with a certain richness and austerity that beg for continued sipping and savoring.
So: Call me a skeptic no more! This is great stuff, at an amazing price for a whiskey of this age.