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:
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.
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.