DSR – TN – 007: George Dickel Tennessee Whisky Bottled in Bond
Company/Distillery: Cascade Hollow Whisky Co.
Location: Tullahoma, Tennessee
Mash Bill: 84% Corn, 8% rye, and 8% malted barley
Age Statement: 11 Years Old
Proof/ABV: 100 Proof/50% ABV
Color & Viscosity: Medium brown with a slight reddish-orange tinge. Viscosity offers a thin appearance in the tasting vessel. Viscous line is thin and leaves little to no legs and quickly glides down the belly of the Glencairn.
Purchase Price: $35.95 from the NC ABC Store – December 2020; 750 ml
Bottle Label Information:
“George Dickel Tennessee Whisky Bottled In Bond”
“Distilled and Charcoal Mellowed at Cascade Hollow Distillery, Tullahoma, Tennessee”
“Distilling Season – Fall 2008 | Aged 11 Years”
“George A. Dickel: In 1870, George A. Dickel began crafting the best Tennessee Whisky around. George discovered that his whisky made in the cold winter months tasted smoother. Today we follow this tradition by chilling our whisky before filtering it through sugar-maple charcoal. We think our unique chilled filtration process makes a fine whisky, hope you agree.”
“Finest Quality Sippin – Ain’t nothin’ BETTER”
“BONDED UNDER LAW: The Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897 is an old law, but it’s an important one to know. To be considered ‘bonded’, the whisky must be from a single distillation season and distillery. It must be aged for at least four years. And it must be unaltered from its original character, except using pure water to reduce proof to 100 degrees. This batch of George Dickel you’re holding abides by this law. IF you have any doubts, just give us a call. We’ll vouch for it personally.”
“No. 2: This second Bottled in Bond release comes from barrels maturing since Fall 2008 with a taste that’s bold and complex. Kinda like the people who made it.”
“George Dickel Bottled In Bond”
“Come for the moonlight, stay for the whisky. George would want you to.”
“Distilled and Aged by Cascade Hollow Whisky Co. In Tullahoma, TN (DSP-TN-2)”
“Bottled in Plainfield, IL (DSP-IL-58)”
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 the 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 Prohibition began 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 Date/Vessel: January 22, 2021 – Neat in Glencairn Glass; Couple drops of distilled water.
Christian: A quick nose of the bottle emits a pleasant aroma of tobacco and sweet brown sugar. I pour some of the whisky into my glass and give it a light swirl. The first thing I notice in this whisky is the sweetness of berries. As I continue to swirl the glass, the nose begins to transition to earthy aromas. Hints of green clay, alfalfa hay, and very light amount of rosemary become present. The oak barrel char begins to move forward as the glass opens up. Adding a couple drops of distilled water opens the whisky up to a slight hint of honey cornbread and brown sugar. The change is not a drastic change, however.
Mike: Slowly lifting the glass to my nose, I am presented with an aroma of tart mixed berries. Rich vanilla overcomes the nose with a subtle hit of ethanol present. A gentle swirl releases a light bouquet of pipe tobacco that transitions very late to a hardened brown sugar. The addition of water brings out a rich buttery-ness and caramelized brown sugar notes that transition to the pleasant aroma of freshly baked sugar cookies.
Christian: The mouth feel is thin and delicate. The opening sip provides hints of vanilla, honey, and cedar wood. As I take another sip, I pick up on the earthy flavors from the nose with a hint of minerally-ness coming forward. I swirl the glass again and take one last sip, this time picking up a subtle taste of the baking spices, nutmeg and allspice. Water really brings the honey and oak forward while becoming a bit more bitter.
Mike: My first sip is sweet on the lips and tip of the tongue, then produces a dry wine piquancy. Leather and cured tobacco emerge mid palate and ends with a peppery rye bite. At the back of the palate, I’m detecting a medicinal bitterness. The best way I can describe it is the soft chalkiness of chewing an orange flavored baby aspirin. This taste then fades into the bitterness of a very dark roasted coffee bean. The mouth is copiously altered from the addition of water. The sweetness is somewhat enhanced but that citrusy bitterness overpowers the palate in every aspect.
Christian: The finish on this pour is short to medium, but extremely dry. My palate is begging for a glass of fresh water after drinking this whisky. Again, the flavor profile in the finish is a little bit chalky and earthy. This flavor is reminiscent to the taste of an uncoated pill getting stuck on your tongue. There is some oak, stick butter, and maple charcoal on the back end but it is faint and overshadowed by the earthiness that comes before it. As everything begins to wind down on my palate, a very slight hint of freshly broken mint leaf sneaks in. The finish on this whisky was already rather tame, so adding water just takes away what little edge was present. Flavor wise, I get mostly dry oak with a side of chalkiness on the back end.
Mike: The finish to this offering is quite mild. I was expecting a longer finish, considering the bite I was getting in the mouth. There is not much happening for me in the finish but I do begin to detect a mellow oakiness very late. Overall I find the finish a little underwhelming. Surprisingly, with the addition of water, I get more of a black pepper bite in the back of the throat. I find that this offering is largely inadequate for my personal tastes.
Christian: Coming into this review, we had heard a lot of different opinions about the quality of the whisky and its taste profiles. At times, this version of the Dickel BiB gets rave reviews and other times, not so much. This piqued our curiosity so we decided to try it and form our own opinions. Previously, in July 2020, we reviewed a 9-year George Dickel Hand Selected Single Barrel that was really good and set the bar high for this BIB offering. There is no doubt that BiB offering has age on it, with its 11-year age statement. The mouthfeel and finish are smooth and approachable – a relatively easy sipper from that standpoint. The issue I have is with the flavor profile. It tastes a little too earthy with very little pizazz, compared to the 9-year we tasted last July. The chalkiness that is present is a bit off-putting to my palate. I was really hoping for more, as an 11-year old whisky priced at under $40 could be a steal. This one just didn’t deliver for me.
Rating: 2.25 Rickhouses
Mike: I like the price of this offering for what it is, an 11 year old BiB, but I am slightly disappointed with the overall offering. The nose is somewhat complex and inviting but the mouth and finish are feeble. The traditional flavors of a Tennessee whiskey are not developed and the medicinal qualities presented in the mouth leave much to be desired and possibly disappointing to most drinkers.
With that said, I haven’t had this in a mixed drink or a cocktail so I can’t speak to its overall value based on versatility. Some drinkers may love this neat or mixed in a cocktail, which is an added benefit for a whisky offering. Personally, I plan to mix it or use it in a cocktail; this is definitely not a drain pour. It’s just not for me and not an indicator of what George Dickel offers on a typical basis.
Rating: 2.25 Rickhouses