Review: George Dickel Hand Selected Barrel

DSR – TN – 004: George Dickel Hand Selected Barrel

Company/Distillery: George Dickel & Co.; Distilled at Cascade Hollow, Bottled in Norwalk, CT

Location: Tullahoma, Tennessee

Mash Bill: 84% Corn, 8% Rye and 8% Malted Barley

Age Statement: 9 Years Old

Proof/ABV: 103 Proof/ 51.5% ABV

Color: Amber brown

Purchase Price: $49.95 from NC ABC; 750 ml Bottle

Bottle Label Information:

Neck Label

“Hand Selected Barrel”

“9 Year Old Tennessee Whisky”

Metal Plate Label

“Bottled Exclusively for Cole Swindell & Carolina Music Festival”

“Cascade Hollow Distilling Co.”


Front Label

“George Dickel Sour Mash Whisky Hand Selected Barrel Aged 9 years”

“Chill Filtered – Smooth Sippin”

“51.5% Alc/Vol – 103 Proof”

“Distilled in Cascade Hollow, Tullahoma, Tennessee; Bottle No. 109”

Back Label

“Hand Selected Barrel – Aged 9 Years”

“George A. Dickel & Co. is very proud to offer you this special hand selected, handcrafted Tennessee whisky. We have carefully chosen a limited number of barrels to be sold one at a time to only our most discerning, loyal customers. These barrels hold our most precious, mellow George Dickel whisky at peak periods of maturation. We invite you to enjoy & savor this truly one-of-a-kind whisky. “

“Diageo – 1.888.DICKEL.YES –”

Distillery Background

The Beginning (1818-1878)

George A. Dickel was born in Germany in 1818. In 1844, a 26 year old Dickel would emigrate from Germany to the United States where he would eventually find his home in the area of Nashville, Tennessee. Dickel started his life in Nashville as a local shop owner and merchant selling goods to locals. A mere 17 years down the road, in 1861, Dickel would venture into the world of liquor sales for the very first time. This would turn out to be a decision that would set him on the path of great success and opportunity.

After the Civil War, Dickel would establish the George A. Dickel Wholesale Company. He would specialize in the procurement and purchasing of different whiskies from multiple distillers around Tennessee. Dickel would then sell these products to retailers to be sold to the end consumers. Dickel’s proficiency in this endeavor would allow him to build a relationship with distilleries of John F. Brown and F.E. Cunningham from Cascade Hollow in Tullahoma, TN.

Cascade Hollow Distillery and Prohibition

In 1878, the Cascade Hollow Distillery would officially open with a purchase from Dickel, allowing him to own a significant stake in the business. The following year, the distillery would bring McLin Davis on board as Master Distiller. Davis is credited with the George A. Dickel recipe that is still used today. Dickel would remain greatly involved in the distillery up until his health started to deteriorate and the start of Prohibition in Tennessee.

As the Prohibition era started to take its hold on Tennessee, Dickel’s brother-in-law, Victor Emmanuel Schwab, would take over the distillery. Due to the restrictions placed on the distillery, Schwab would make the decision to move the facility and production to the Stitzel Distillery in Kentucky. The facility would remain at this location and produce medicinal spirits from 1916 until 1956.

Cascade Hollow Distillery Today

In 1956, Ralph Dupps would begin to rebuild the Cascade Hollow Distillery just a short distance from its original spot. The distillery would open two years later and distill its first batch on July 4, 1959. They would later produce their first bottle in 1964. During this new move, the distillery would solidify some of the hallmarks of whisky as developed by Dickel himself. The Lincoln county process would be a critical part of the process. Dickel preferred distilling in the winter months as he believed that the nighttime cooling of the mash produced a much smoother product. Today, the distillery still honors this tradition by chill filtering its whisky. Finally, the distillery uses Tennessee barrels with char#4 on the interior of the barrel and char#2 on the barrel heads.

The current George Dickel product line includes: George Dickel No. 1 White Corn Whisky; George Dickel Classic No. 8; George Dickel Tabasco Barrel Finish; George Dickel Superior No. 12; George Dickel Rye Whisky; George Dickel Bottled-in-Bond; George Dickel Barrel Select.

Sources: Big Whiskey by Carlo Devito; George A. Dickel Whisky Website

Tasting Notes

Tasting Date/Vessel: July 20, 2020 – Neat in Glencairn Glass


Christian: There is no doubt that this is a higher proof whisky offering. First smell of the glass is ethanol forward on the nose. Savory flavors of apple cinnamon oatmeal, brown sugar, and tobacco move forward. An ever so slight hint of bananas is surprisingly present. Addition of water removes the ethanol nose and brings brown sugar and caramel to the forefront. Nose becomes even sweeter as the banana starts to intensify.

Mike: First pass there is a presence of green bananas and a fresh bowl of cooked oatmeal.  Nosing in deeper on the second pass you pick up ethanol and brown sugar tones with a suggestion of dark raisins. The smell is hot, signifying to me, this is a higher proof whisky.  Drawing back, hints of sweet hay and roasted peanuts emerge.


Christian: The mouth feel is thick and oily, yet still pleasant. The taste on the palate is not much different than what the nose offered. Lots of brown sugar and oatmeal on the tongue. A hint of cornbread mix raw in a bowl. Very good but still hot! Water really tones down the heat. Oatmeal, honey, and peanuts dominate the palate.

Mike: First sip starts with a bright sweetness of freshly brewed tea on the tip of the tongue that develops into a zesty peppery bite. Very light in the mouth at first with flavors of coriander initially then warm cedar and old leather steadily develop.


Christian: Long finish on this pour. Nice pronounced Kentucky hug as the whisky moves from the palate to the throat. Hints of clover, black pepper, tea, and cinnamon transition to stone fruits and mint as the flavors dissipate. Water really ramps up the cinnamon in the finish. Reminders of Red Hots candy permeate as I continue to enjoy this whisky.

Mike: Substantially long finish. Very warm and soothing burn as the swallow slides down the throat into the chest. It is exceptionally smooth for 103 proof. A kiss of spearmint lingers that is very refreshing.

Our Rating

Final Thoughts

Christian: This is a solid pour. Rather hot but that doesn’t take away from its enjoy-ability. This is an interesting whisky as I feel that water really opens up the nose and finish, but leaves a little to be desired on the palate. As a result, I prefer the heat and flavor profile, neat. This offering was my first introduction to George Dickel and it did not disappoint. It leaves me wanting to try some of the more affordable offerings like No. 8 and No. 12. The presence of bananas leaves me wondering if the Lincoln County process has some influence on this unique flavor as we also noticed it in another popular whiskey from Tennessee. Overall this was quite an enjoyable experience that I would recommend to others.

Rating: 3.5 Rickhouses

Mike: This is a very respectable offering from George Dickel. Overall, a very balanced whisky.  This checks off a lot of boxes for my whiskey preferences.  Age, proof, and value are all present and accounted for. George Dickel is the lesser known of the two major Tennessee whiskey producers but appears to suffer just the same fate in the eyes of most bourbon fans and that is unfortunate. Honestly, this pour could go toe to toe with any single barrel Kentucky bourbon. I thoroughly enjoyed sipping this and it will be welcome on my bar anytime!

Rating: 4.0 Rickhouses

Conclusion: George Dickel Hand Selected Barrel whisky is an excellent pour! It comes at a nice proof point with fair price and delightful tasting notes. This whisky holds up neat, with a few drops of water or with ice. All around we really enjoyed this pour and would be proud to have it on our bars and share it with our friends. Pick one up and give a pour. We think you will find it to be a high quality drink.


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