George Dickel's New, Award-Winning Whisky Is Surprisingly Affordable and Incredibly Tasty

Since the 1960s, George Dickel has primarily existed as that other name in Tennessee whisky. The second largest distillery in the state—which stubbornly refuses to label its liquid with the letter e—is a veritable workhorse, crafting an accessible high-corn hooch that pours sweet, yet drinks elegant neat. 

The exceptional quality of its recent output underscores the point that it should be seen as second to none—especially when we’re talking about the brand’s venerated bottled-in-bond series, launched in 2019 to effusive critical praise. Now, the fifth release is ready for shelves.

George Dickel Bottled-in-Bond Spring 2011 is a 12-year-old tipple that serves as a case study in complexity. Though it introduces itself with aromas of cherry and treacle, the mahogany-hued pour takes your tongue for a joyride from the sweet shop to the spice rack. As you sip, you pick up vanillas and caramels typical of a bourbon. It’s the oak-driven leathery tang, however, that sustains your interest long after it all goes down.

For those in need of another sort of refreshment, here’s a brief rundown of what bottled in bond means: Any American whiskey wearing the designation must be a minimum of four years in age, bottled at exactly 100 proof, sourced from a single distillery during a single distillation season—which, for the latest Dickel offering, means the spring of 2011. These standards were enshrined by an Act of Congress back in 1897. It was actually the first American law passed to protect the quality of a food or drink. 

If you needed more reason to believe in the brilliance of Dickel’s take on the style, sip on this: the 12-year-old release already nabbed a prestigious “Double Gold” at this year’s San Francisco World Spirits Competition, with an enviable score of 96 out of 100.

Having said all this, perhaps its most impressive characteristic is a modest pricepoint. Not often is it that we see such sophistication and statement of age packaged in $45 bottle. Indeed, it’s one of the better deals in whiskey—or whisky—today.

Related: I’ve Tested Dozens of Bottles of the Hottest Trend in Whiskey. Don’t Believe the Hype

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