Booze Review

Whisky Review – George Dickel No. 12 Tennessee Whisky

Photo Courtesy of The Malt Imposter

Once again, G-LO received his weekly booze mail shipment. In dividing the spoils, I was tasked with writing up the George Dickel No. 12. This is a Tennessee Whisky made by George A. Dickel & Co., one of many manufacturers that find themselves under the umbrella of the Diageo Empire. Besides the No.12, Dickel releases two other Tennesee whiskies: the Old No. 8 at 80 proof and the Barrel Select Tennessee which is a small batch whisky bottled at 86 proof. Dickel also produces a Rye Whisky (distilled in Lawrenceburg, IN) using a mashbill that consists of 95% rye and 5% malted barley (sound familiar?) and bottled at 90 proof. And, Dickel produces the No. 1 Foundation Recipe which is a white corn whiskey using a mashbill of over 80% corn and bottled at 91 proof.

The No. 12 as a Tennessee whisky is produced using the Lincoln County Process. This is a step in the production process where the whiskey is filtered through, or steeped in, charcoal chips before going into the casks for aging. Additionally, Tennessee whiskies are produced using the same manufacturing process as Bourbon. So, while almost all Tennessee whiskies are technically bourbons, you cannot call it Tennessee whisky if it is not physically produced in Tennessee.

Here’s what George Dickel has to say about their No. 12…

Our 90-proof Tennessee Whisky. We blend older whiskies to achieve deep, assertive flavors with an incredibly smooth finish. Bold and brazen, this is our Superior No. 12.

Concentrated flavors of rich oak and subtle vanilla lead to a long finish with hints of maple, butter and smoke. A whisky with enormous depth, range and personality – considered by many to be the gold standard of Tennessee Whisky.

And here are our impressions…

  • Appearance: Clover honey.
  • ABV: 45%
  • Aroma
    • Limpd: Alcohol vapors, menthol (ah, the charcoal filtering), buttercream, cane sugar and honeysuckle.
    • G-LO: A touch of rubbing alcohol at first, but thankfully, it dissipates pretty quickly. After that I get some baked apple, cinnamon, brown sugar, clove, ginger, and a bit of leather.
  • Taste
    • Limpd: Velvety with a good bit of peppery heat upfront followed by some sugars, a bit of wood and vanilla. The heat returns for the finish which is spicy and long with a bit of tobacco smoke and more of the barrel.
    • G-LO: The mouthfeel is lightly oily. This whisky was much hotter than I expected it to be. Black pepper, cinnamon, and brown sugar at the start with all of the flavors concentrated in the middle of my tongue. Mellows a bit in the middle with some baked apple and clove coming through. Dry at the finish with lingering spice and subtle sweetness. There’s some tobacco in the aftertaste.

The Verdict

  • Limp: This was an interesting blend of heat, sugar and smoke. I can certainly see where the term Tennessee sippin’ whisky comes from as this is a whisky that is better enjoyed over long slow sips, as opposed to just shooting it. I found that it really opened up when I took my time drinking it, and the slower I drank it the more I enjoyed it. This is really something that you want to take your time with or you might miss some of the complexities.
  • G-LO: I had zero expectations before trying this whisky, mostly because I haven’t spent much time with Dickel whiskies. There’s no real reason for this, I just never got around to trying many of their offerings. So did I like this whisky? Yes. Yes I did! What impressed me most was the variety of flavors and moderate intensity, especially when you consider the price which is between $20 and $30/bottle. Who says really good whisky has to be expensive?


Many thanks to Taylor Strategy for sending us these very generous samples!

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