George Dickel Bottled-in-Bond Tennessee Whisky (Spring 2011 Distillate) Review

When you talk about George Dickel, the first thing that comes to some folks’ minds is Flintstones. Meet the Flinstones. They’re the modern Stone Age family…


Why? Some of its distillate has a distinctive mineral quality reminiscent of Flintstones Children’s Vitamins. For the record, I’ve had many Dickel pours over the years, but they don’t all taste that way.


George Dickel recently came out with its Spring 2011 distilled Bottled-in-Bond Tennessee Whisky. If you’ve done the math, it is a 12-year whisky. Hold that thought while I take a somewhat brief segue.


Bottled-in-Bond is one of my favorite niche categories. It is exclusively an American distilled niche created as one of the most important consumer protection laws with the unanimous passage of The Bottled in Bond Act of 1897.


This law was necessary because bad people looking to stretch dollars did terrible things to whiskey. They would add things to it. Bad things. Things like tobacco spit, old coffee, and even turpentine, and unsuspecting folks were getting sick, and several wound up dying.


Something needed to be done; otherwise, no one would buy whiskey anymore, at least not with the risks involved. The Act was signed into law by President Grover Cleveland and states that any distilled spirit that carries a Bottled in Bond (or Bonded) label must adhere to strict standards:


  • It must be a complete product of the United States
  • It must be composed of the same type of spirit (whiskey, brandy, gin, etc.)
  • It must be distilled by a single distiller in a single distilling season (January to June or July to December)
  • It must be packaged at exactly 100° (50% ABV)
  • It must be aged at least four years in a government-bonded warehouse (hence, the bonded part of the term)
  • If the spirit is bottled by someone other than the distiller, it must state the name of the distiller
  • It can be filtered, and it can use water to be proofed to 100°, but nothing else can be added


Okay, let’s cycle back to this bottle of George Dickel Bottled-in-Bond. We know several things due to the requirements for it to be bonded. Other things aren’t obvious, and I want you to still keep in mind this is a 12-year whisky.


It was distilled in 2011 at the Cascade Hollow Distilling Co. in Tullahoma, Tennessee. That’s not sourced; that’s Dickel’s distillery. It began with a mash of 84% corn, 8% rye, and 8% malted barley. It aged in new, charred oak barrels. Then, it was charcoal mellowed via the Lincoln County Process, which allows it to be called Tennessee Whisky (although it could still be labeled Bourbon legally).


This 12-year Bottled-in-Bond Tennessee Whisky has a suggested retail price of $44.99 for a 750ml bottle! In today’s environment, at least on its face, that’s a stupidly good deal.


Of course, if it doesn’t perform, then the price is useless. That’s why we #DrinkCurious around here! Before I get there, I must thank George Dickel for providing me with a sample in exchange for my no-strings-attached, honest review.


Appearance: I poured this whisky into a Glencairn glass to sip neat. The dark, orange amber liquid produced a microthin rim and fast, crooked tears.  


Nose: I got distracted, and while this whisky was resting, its aroma filled the room. There were smells of cherries, strawberries, caramel, oak, and fresh leather. Inside my mouth, the vapor tasted of cherries and vanilla.


Palate: The creamy texture introduced my palate to what I could swear was a Zero candy bar. Nougat, white chocolate, peanuts, and caramel were on the front. As it moved to the middle, the fruit moved in with raspberries, strawberries, and cherries. The back became spicy with oak, clove, and allspice.


Finish: George Dickel Bottled-in-Bond’s finish was like a tugboat. It started slowly and then plodded along, leaving behind allspice, clove, cherries, white chocolate, and caramel in its wake. The duration lasted several minutes.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: Remember the Flintstones reference? You can forget about it now because there’s no evidence of minerality with this Tennessee Whisky. It is well-balanced, and I’ll daresay it is “fun” to drink. It is like taking a tour of classic Bourbon flavors. There’s nothing not to enjoy here, and when you factor in the price, age, and proof, buying a Bottle would make Warren Buffett, the world’s richest frugal person, smile. Cheers!  


My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It


Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you to do so responsibly.