In November 2020, the folks at Diageo’s Cascade Hollow Distilling Co. announced they would be releasing a new 15-year single barrel expression of the George Dickel Tennessee Whiskey brand. This new release was set to premier in a limited number of states with an additional rollout shortly thereafter in early 2021. George Dickel expressions have seen increasing age statements in recent years and the release of this 15-year expression signals that we should expect more higher age-stated expressions in the future.
This whiskey is made from the typical Dickel mash bill of 84% corn, 8% rye, and 8% malted barley. It is aged in barrels with a #4 char on the barrel walls and a #2 char on the head for 15 years before being bottled with minimal filtering and little water added. Proofs on these releases will vary from 40% to 52.3% and should retail for $60.
The bottle used for this review comes in at 46.5% (93.4 proof) and joined my bourbon cabinet for the suggested retail price of $60.
Nose – The nose is warm and welcoming! Slight ethanol gives way to brown butter, rich caramel, stewed apples, vanilla, and a just a little bit of that typical Dickel grain (hay) note. The oak is subtle and not what I was expecting after 15-years in heavy char.
Palate – Initially this whiskey has a nice viscosity, which really compliments the rich, sweet notes that jump out on the palate. I was reminded of vanilla custard with cinnamon apples, along with just a hint of barrel char. On the back of the palate, the cinnamon spice intensifies along with some oak, which provides some balance to the prominent sweet notes. Much to my surprise, the minerality that I typically find in Dickel products was not present in this pour!
Finish – The finish is medium-short and somewhat underwhelming compared to the start of the pour. The rich, sweet flavors taper off quickly and I was left with light caramel, cinnamon, and some grain. The oak also develops more, revealing some tannins, which provided a moderately dry finish.
Overall – I am not usually a fan of George Dickel expressions but I have to admit I was impressed with this single barrel. The nose is deep and rich , and really a step up from other age-stated Dickel expressions. And while predominantly sweet, I thought this whiskey provided a really nice range of complimentary flavors that were not overwhelmed by oak. Unfortunately, I did find that the finish on this barrel was quite short and lacking in overall flavor, but nonetheless it is still a strong pour, especially in the $60 price range.