Earlier this week, George Dickel launched a new “Distillery Reserve Collection” that will only be available at the visitor center and a few select retail locations in Tennessee. The story behind the first release is an eye rolling tale that we’ve all heard before - basically, they found these barrels sitting in a warehouse where they had been forgotten. Either most of these stories are marketing bullshit or distilleries (Diageo in particular) are completely inept at inventory management. Regardless of how it came to be, what we ended up with is the oldest Tennessee Whiskey I’ve ever heard of and that certainly piqued my interest. I had always been looking for an excuse to visit the Dickel distillery so I drove down to the visitor center on Monday morning and picked up a few bottles for myself and friends.
Truth be told, I had some initial hesitation about this whiskey. There’s a reasonable chance it could be over-oaked and I hate to sound like a proof whore but the ABV is on the low side. My biggest worry though is that well known Flintstone vitamin taste that is associated with Dickel whiskeys. It’s a really odd flavor that I’ve never tasted it any other whiskey. While on some days I enjoy it, there are times when I find it off-putting. I was very curious to see if more years in the wood would help tone down some of those funky Dickel notes.
Aged 17 years; 43.5% ABV; $75 (375ml)
Nose: Rather intense. I swear I can smell it in the corked bottle if I am nearby. The low proof keeps the heat down but there is loads of vanilla, corn, and old oak. The vitamin/mineral flavor is certainly there making it obvious that this is a Dickel whiskey.
Taste: Pretty much like the nose. A ton of vanilla and corn up front, some rye spice in the middle, and lots of old wood throughout. The hallmark Dickel vitamin mineral notes are there but way toned down. The finish is where it falls the flattest as it’s on the thin side and fades rather quickly though I get some stone fruits as it lingers. There is some bitterness and funk in the old oak notes but it’s surprisingly sweet for the age. It tastes exactly like what I would expect from an extra aged George Dickel whiskey.
Thoughts: This turned out a lot better than I expected and I would go so far as to say it’s pretty nice. Sure the proof could be a little higher but other than that, I think it turned out really well. If I were to rating this on uniqueness, it would be a solid A as I’ve never really tasted anything like this. That alone makes it really craveable even if it isn’t my favorite pour.
Value: I don’t factor price into my ratings. At $75 for a 375ml it’s certainly not a value but given the uniqueness and the fact that you may never be able to get something like this again, I have no regrets buying a bottle.