George Dickel is a very polarizing product amongst whiskey enthusiasts because as many folks will tell you, it has an incredibly distinct taste and smell that most people liken to vitamins. Open the seal on fresh bottle of multivitamins and smell it - that's sort of what Dickel whiskey can taste and smell like on top of all the usual corny/sweet/woody bourbon notes. It's a very odd flavor that many folks find off putting but over the years I've come to appreciate that odd profile as something different - something along the lines of bourbon being my wife and George Dickel being my mistress.
As of late, there's been a flood of Dickel based products on the market. On top of the official single barrel store picks from Dickel themselves, we've also seen a ton of NDPs offer it as a sourced product. One in particular that comes to mind are the folks over at Barrell who have been releasing cask strength 13-14 year old Tennessee sourced bourbon that almost certainly is from Dickel. I've enjoyed some of those quite a lot however the $110 price tag has kept me from going back to the well very often. My good experiences with well aged Dickel across the board had me excited to see Dickel themselves releasing an older age product with a decent proof and a very reasonable price point. The best Dickel branded products I've ever had were the 14 year single barrels that clocked in around 106 proof. This product seems really close to those in terms of specs so I'm going into this with high expectations.
Tennessee Bottled in Bond Whiskey; No Age Statement (Fall 2005 Vintage Statement); 50% ABV; $36
Nose: There is no escaping the familiar Dickel multivitamins. Also per usual with Dickel there is a heavy smoked corn component, something along the lines of charred cornbread.
Taste: All the same from the nose. A brief jolt of Dickel minerals, charred corn, and slight musty oak. The finish briefly lingers with almost no flavor other than Dickel minerals and burnt charred wood but even that doesn't last long.
Thoughts: Throwing the specs out the window and judging this as a regular whiskey with no context, this is borderline okay. Bring the specs back into the equation though and judge this for what it should be and it's a miserable failure. They must have filtered the everlasting shit out of this because there is no way it tastes like it's 100 proof. It's so incredible thin and the finish is so incredibly short I'm baffled. I don't know how Diageo managed to royally fuck up what could have been a fantastic release but kudos to them for finding a way to ruin something that should have been great.
Note that price is not considered when assigning a rating.