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.
George Dickel is a Diageo brand, like Bulleit, and it is a Tennessee whiskey. Which is to say it is bourbon run through the “Lincoln County process”, i.e it is filtered through charcoal after distillation. There is also a George Dickel rye, but that’s actually made by MGP in Indiana, though also filtered through charcoal. The bourbon is, as far as I know, made entirely in Tennessee.
Private barrels of George Dickel began to be made available to various stores around the country last year. Some released 9 yo barrels and some released 14 yo barrels. I believe all the 9 yo barrels were at one strength and all the 14 yo’s at another. I”ll be reviewing a 14 yo from the venerable Park Avenue Liquor in Manhattan soon, but first up is this 9 yo from the upstart Twin Cities store, Ace Spirits (owned by the same people behind Merwin’s). It’s never entirely clear how extensive the process for barrel selection by stores is—I don’t know if they picked this from a broad or narrow range of samples; I’m assuming, of course, that no one actually went down to the distillery’s warehouses and selected from the barrels aging there. (The distillery, by the way, is Cascade Hollow—George Dickel is a brand name.) But if the bourbon’s good, who the hell cares what the selection process was?