On Wednesday I had a review of the Ace Spirits exclusive George Dickel 9; here now is my review of the Park Avenue Liquors George Dickel 14. This was released in 2013 (at the front-end, seemingly, of the Dickel private barrel program. It is five years older than the Ace Spirits barrel and has a slightly higher abv. I drank this right after its younger “sibling”. Let’s get straight to it.
George Dickel 14 (53%; bottled in 2014 for Park Avenue Liquor; from a sample received in a swap)
Nose: Not a million miles from the Ace Spirits 9 yo at first with corn sweetness and some caramel. It’s softer though with a little more vanilla, a bit of maple and some toasted wood. After few minutes I get some fruit as well—plum?—and a bit of graphite (pencil lead). With a lot more time the maple notes really expand (more maple smoke than syrup) and there’s a hint of nutmeg and a bit of ginger. With water the pencil lead/graphite really jumps out at first and then the fruit expands too.
Palate: Hot and not terribly expressive at first. Once my palate adjusts it’s pretty much as on the nose, except with some brighter citrus in place of the plum. Gets spicier as it goes with clove and cinnamon, but it also gets sweeter. More approachable with air and time but probably best to add some water. Much fruitier with water with orange peel and a touch of apricot and some honey too—the spicy notes are still around too. A bit of sweet tobacco as well.
Finish: Long. Nothing new develops really, except something leafy again at the very end. With water the fruity notes hang around for a long time and it get spicier and woodier as well.
Comments: Interesting how hot I found both this and the Ace Spirits 9 yo to be at first despite their being <55% in abv. Is it the virgin oak or the high corn content that amplifies the alcohol? Or is it just me? Anyway, I liked this quite a bit more than the Ace Spirits, especially with water and especially the nose. At first I didn’t think there was any way I could have paid the asking price ($90, though I think it is long gone) but with time and water it really grew on me. Or maybe it’s the case that my single malt bias is showing (water brought out some notes I really enjoy in sherried malts).
Rating: 87 points.
Thanks to Sku for the sample!
If you want to try a bourbon that reminds me of a single malt, I’d highly recommend Wild Turkey Rare Breed. It’s very good and still downright cheap (sub-$40).