I’m part of the Dickel Dozen, which either sounds like I should have a gun, or well – ok, let’s leave it at that. What it really means is that I’m one of twelve writers chosen to receive a bottle from George Dickel’s hand-selected barrel program, along with some custom videos for this site. Hand-selected and/or single barrel means that someone goes into the rick house (the warehouse where the whisky ages in its barrels) and tastes samples from different barrels until they find one that’s perfect just the way it is. It doesn’t need to be blended, or aged more – it’s time to bottle it. You can watch how the barrel was selected for my bottle – and how the whisky was made in the video below.

Keeping with the hand-selected theme, one of Dickel’s taglines is “handmade the hard way.” That means no computers are used in the making of the whisky (at least in Cascade Hollow it does). Real people make real whisky – that’s what I want in my glass. Here are my tasting notes – sláinte!

Color: Dark amber with hints of red and gold, what I would expect from a whiskey that’s been aged 9 years.

Nose: It has a tiny bit of burn, just a bit, along with the sweet smell of caramel corn.

Taste: This whisky is mellow and smooth. Another tagline is “mellow as moonlight” – moonlight is mellow, but it’s not a warm light – which is just the opposite of you get out of a sip. It’s sweet and round, with a bit of burn at the edges as you swallow it. The finish is warm and long. A long finish means you can still taste it on your tongue, for as long as a several minutes. Some whiskies are gone before you know what happened. This stuff sticks around in a good way. I do my reviews with every whiskey, neat – nothing but me, my glass and my whiskey. I can’t really see drinking this whisky any other way. I’m not a snob that will yell at you for adding ice/water/mixer, but I’d seriously encourage you to try this one neat first. You’re welcome.

Price point: $45 – WHAT? I’d qualify that as a “buy it when you see it,” for sure. Because of the nature of the program, these bottles aren’t available everywhere. Ask your favorite retailer if they can get it.

ABV: 51.5% (103 proof) A little north of most whiskey, but remember, it’s bottled directly from the barrel, the proof isn’t changed with water first.

Other comments: A couple extra notes on how this whisky is made, if you are into label reading (I am). Chill filtered: normally this means that the whisky is dropped to around 0 degrees, and run through a fine filter to remove fatty acids that may appear when ice is added, or if a bottle sits may show up as sediment. George Dickel believed that whisky he made during the winter was smoother than the summer, so they chill it, but only use minimal filtering. It’s also Tennessee whisky, which means that filter is maple charcoal (and not Britta). And no – I’m not just randomly switching between whisky and whiskey – George Dickel believed his whisky was as fine as any coming out of Scotland, so he adopted the Scottish spelling. Check out my review of No. 1, the unaged whisky used as the base for all their aged products.

9 pancakes out of 10 – I’ve tried a lot of whiskies, I’ll admit that. Some are good for as long as the bottle lasts, and that’s that. Some become, “that’ll do in a pinch.” From the first glass of this whisky, I was already wondering if I could get another bottle…nicely done!

Article by: Jeanne Runkle

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