In 2019, George Dickel impressed us so much with its 13-year-old Bottled in Bond that we put it in our Top 10 Whiskeys list for the year. In 2020, the distillery produced a very solid, if somewhat less balanced and slightly younger, sequel. Now, round three is hitting the shelves. Perhaps in response to some of last year’s criticism, the 2021 Bottled in Bond release is once again a 13-year-old bourbon, this one distilled in 2008. Will it stay that way? Who knows. Is it as good as the teenaged debut release? Let’s see.
The aroma definitely hints at last year’s release with a restrained nose that showcases less sweetness and more savory and dusty qualities. Notes of cigar box, barrel char, and buttery cinnamon toast point toward a layer of butterscotch frosting and warm pralines underneath, but it’s never abundantly obvious, even after considerable airtime. On the palate, however, this one is more a return to the Dickel Bottled in Bond we all fell in love with in 2019, with nuance and an exceptional balance on display. Roasted nuts and candied citrus give way to a briefly indulgent bit of chewy caramel and buttercream icing before balancing out on the finish with apple chips, cigar wrapper, and more of that toasty barrel char that added such a mouthwatering richness to the initial release.
It’s back, folks, and this batch is reportedly the largest yet, so there’s a better chance you’ll be able to find it even after the word gets out. Again. Oh, and it’s $5 more expensive than last year. Again.