Monday, January 9, 2017

George Dickel No. 8 Tennesse Whisky

I will admit to snoozing on this blog after the first round of posts. It can be daunting to launch something new; other people might not seem to care about it, and you may not be sure how you feel about it yourself. Then again, both of those things may change if you keep on pushing. At the very least, I have notes remaining from last October on one or two products worth reviewing, so why let my work go to waste?

As I've explained before, most Tennessee Whisk(e)y is Straight Bourbon made in Tennessee and filtered through (typically) sugar maple charcoal. While Jack Daniel's is easily the leading brand, George Dickel comes in second. I find that among people I know, awareness of Jack Daniel's is universal, but awareness of George Dickel is hit-or-miss. Those who like it, however, really like it. (Incidentally, my second experience with house concert drunk drama involved a bottle of George Dickel No. 8 which I, trying to be a gracious host, brought to share with people. It led to a heated confrontation with someone who took the bottle away from the common area, which I'd never seen anyone do before, and got so drunk that he thought I was joking when I told him he had to leave due to his level of inebriation. I had seen this guy plenty before, mostly at bars, yet never drunk until that show. I'll say it again: do not ever allow yourself to be responsible for a house concert.)

When it comes to Tennessee Whisk(e)y, there is a saying which I did not come up with, but wholeheartedly endorse:

If you only know Jack, YOU DON'T KNOW DICKEL!

So I like that George Dickel's standard expression, No. 8, is one number higher than Jack Daniel's standard expression, Old. No. 7.

I also like that the product's webpage publishes its mash bill: 84% corn, 8% rye, 8% malted barley.

George Dickel No. 8
Tennessee Whisky
No Age Statement
40% ABV (80 Proof)

Color: No added coloring, of course. Amber and burnt sienna. Nice.

Body: Light, but with legs (and tears!) that just won't quit.

Nose: I could nose this forever. Even though it is a basic, low-priced whisky, it has one of the most expressive noses I have ever encountered. In chronological order: big aromas of sweet red and black cherries. Rich, deep oak. A zing of alcohol. Spicy rye with nose-tickling rainbow peppercorns. A smooth, supple coating of maple. Pecan pie. Sweet, creamy vanilla custard. A bright, refined vinegar suitable for salad dressing. Sour mash. Nutty corn and barley. A rain-soaked forest. Vanilla-infused white sugar. Rice pudding. Roasted pecans. Earthy rye. A hint of smoke. A vegetal underpinning.

Palate: A light entry, but the flavors get progressively deeper and more assertive. Classic Straight Bourbon profile, but with that smooth, supple coating of maple, echoing the nose. Unmistakably American flavors: cherry sweetness with a strong oak backbone, rye providing a spiciness and additional depth to give this whisky some weight. However, the progression is reminiscent of many blended Canadian whiskies: the sweet, corn-dominated entry, followed by the rye creeping in with a spicy zing to cut through and balance out the sweetness. Mild notes of butterscotch and caramel as well. Charcoal gives some lingering heft to the corn-forward aftertaste. Easy-drinking and smooth, but in the long run, this whisky is also full-flavored and mouth-filling.

Besides Sipping Neat: I am disappointed when I share this with friends who've never had it and they add ice to it without taking one sip neat. But if you share your whisky, you can't tell people how to drink it! In my opinion, No 8. works on the rocks, but it's better neat. I prefer to sip it, but it also makes for smooth shooting. Mixes well with cola and ginger ale. I made a wonderful Old Fashioned with No. 8, Peychaud's bitters, and orange slices. However, I think I made a Manhattan with this and Angostura bitters and was only semi-impressed; it must have been forgettable because I can't even remember for sure!

Overall: A great entry-level American whisky to serve multiple purposes.

$20 (+ tax) per 750 ml here in Pennsylvania, so it's cheaper than Old No. 7, too.

Thank you for reading, and as always...Happy Drinking!

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