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Review #5 George Dickel Bottle in Bond (13 year): Tennessee

Updated: Jun 19, 2020

Score: 7-8.4 / 10

Distillery: Cascade Hollow

Type: Bonded Tennessee Whisky


A Tale of Two Dickels:


I’ve followed Whisky Advocate ever since I went to WhiskyFest in San Francisco in 2017. I like checking out their top 20 ratings and seeing who they select, so there was no doubt that I was puzzled when Dickel Bottled in Bond (13 year) was named their #1 Whisky of 2019. I was in San Diego when the news broke so my girlfriend and I headed down to The Whiskey House in downtown San Diego to grab a pour. This bar is great BTW and they showcase over 4,400 whiskey bottles. (Tons of allocated whiskey!) – I was like a kid in a candy store. She ordered the Dickel and I stuck to Tennessee theme as well and ordered a pour of Belle Meade Cask Strength. We tried both and I remember that we were both completely underwhelmed by the Dickel and I personally thought that the Belle was much better. Looking back at their Top 20 though, I think that they nailed it with the following picks:

#3: Four Roses Small Batch Select (delicious)

#4 Heaven Hill BiB (7 year) (love it)

#7: Old Ezra Barrel Proof (fitting and tasty)

#9 Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban (I call it liquid mint chocolate chip ice cream)

#10 Writer’s Tears (fantastic)

#13 Game of Thrones Talisker – House Greyjoy (Theon died for nothing) (salty, briny, light peat – great stuff)

#15 Bruichladdich Bere Barley 2010 (love anything from these guys)

So again #1 was Dickel? The same guys that made a Tabasco finish whisky? Let’s look back even further at some previous #1’s:

2017: Elijah Craig Barrel Proof – agreed. Buy all the ECBP whiskies you can – I think they are all phenomenal and can generally be found and be found at reasonable prices

2018: Nikka From the Barrel – huge fan of Nikka products, love the NFTB, Yoichi, Miyagikyo and Pure Malts. Complex and tasty every time

2019: Dickel – long story short I found a bottle for $39 and decided to re-visit it. Here’s where things get interesting, I decided to try it twice:


Whiskey Review:

Tasting #1: (Served neat – Glencairn glass)

Nose: corn, pepper, heavy whipping cream, crème brulee, ground coffee, boiled peanut, oak

Palate: okay, woody, very earthy on the palate, noticeable nutty flavors with subtle fruit. Oily with very low spice. Bitter dark cherry and cacao. A hint or orange rind finishes bursts through after the initial flavors.

Finish: faded peppercorn and bitter notes linger on the palate. Leather and tobacco hang around as the mouth dries.

Score 7.0 – very disappointing for a whisky that was hyped up as much as it was.


Tasting #2: (Served with ½ ice cube – Glencairn glass)

Nose: sugared fruits (strawberry & cherry), toffee, chocolate, vanilla, trail mix (very nutty), raisin, tinge of leather, hint of rose petal and lemon zest

Palate: a bit of water opens up an incredible array of flavors composed of juicy fruits that crash like waves into my bottom lip along with a viscous and chewy chocolate covered raisin taste. The water transforms the mouthfeel from oily to a thick and chewy semi-solid on the tongue – this whisky feels immiscible at this point and can be swirled around to discover new flavors. The initial burst of sweetness fades into toasted sugary peanut with a lingering tobacco note.

Finish: mildly tannic and slightly dries out the mouth while robust nut flavors and dull tingling cinnamon stick around.

Score 8.4 – much better with a bit of ice/water to open up this whisky. Showcases some good complexity with a wide array of flavors and transforms bitter notes into sweeter notes.

Scale:

S+ Sensational - The Pinnacle (9.5+)

A - AXEceptional (astounding) (9-9.5)

B - bravo (step aBove average) (8-8.9)

C - competent (7-7.9)

D - disappointing (6-6.9)

F - flush it down the toilet (fail) (5.9 below)

Notes: Availability: Uncommon, but not too difficult.


The long/short final note: it's pretty good with some ice/water, but left me disappointed again neat. Best Whisky of 2019? Not even close. Here are some whiskies that I would prefer over it: Elijah Craig Barrel Proof B519, Bookers 2019-01 Teresa’s Batch, Booker’s 2019-03 Country Ham, Maker’s Mark RC6, Stagg Jr (130 proof), 1792 Sweet Wheat, Hancock’s Reserve, Old Weller Antique. Granted for $39 I think it is worth exploring and offers some interesting flavors – the bottles listed previously were all more than this so it does pack in some value for its price point.


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