George Dickel No. 12 | 45% ABV | $22
After a long weekend I’m back with two reviews for the price of one. For the fourth review I put two Tennessee whiskeys up head to head. The Brown-Forman juggernaut, Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 and the Diageo owned George Dickel No. 12. Both are bourbons but choose to distinguish themselves as Tennessee whisk(e)y and both go through what is called the Lincoln County Process, which is a form of charcoal filtration before entering the barrel. The charcoal filtering/mellowing gives the whiskeys a distinct smoothness that is well known to their respected fans.
Both brands filter their distillate in large vats filled with charcoal but go about slightly different. Jack Daniels filters their distillate fresh off the still where as George Dickel chills their distillate prior to filling the vats. It is definitely a time consuming process as it’s filtered drip by drip but not necessary for it to be called ‘Tennessee whiskey’. Some really like the mellowing effect on the bourbon while others feel the process removes necessary flavors and nuances out of the whiskey. Again like with so many things with whiskey, it’s subjective.
Now on to the review.
Appearance (JD): a light golden amber with thin spaced out legs
Appearance (GD): a light golden amber, just a shade lighter than JD with medium sized, slow moving legs
Nose (JD): An extremely sweet nose. Notes of vanilla, maple and banana, lots and lots of banana. With time honey and pineapple begin to emerge as well as of peanuts. One of the sweetest noses on a whiskey I’ve encountered.
Nose (GD): This one smells like you just opened up a barrel of corn. Lots of oak and peanuts along with some floral notes. The nose on this gives me a picture of what I think whiskey must of been like in the olden days. Just rugged, good ol’ fashioned whiskey.
Palate (JD): Maple on the front of the tongue and then mid palate the banana, that is so prevalent on the nose, comes in. Corn and barrel char are also present but not a whole lot of complexity on this one. The finish is filled with oaky dryness but fades fast.
Palate (GD): Just as with the nose, the palate reminds me of an old school bourbon. Your corn, oak and hints of vanilla are present. Some honey begins to appear but unfortunately tends to get overpowered by the oak which remains through the finish, that is medium in length. Even at 90 proof there is hardly any burn from the alcohol, no doubt the charcoal mellowing doing it’s job.
Overall (JD): If you are the number one selling American whiskey in the world you have to be doing something right. It’s definitely one of the smoothest bourbons I’ve tasted. The problem with me is that nothing stands out or is in sync. The nose is candy store sweet but the palate is very tamed. The full flavors never seem to come through. A less then memorable finish along with it coasting safely at 80 proof leaves me wanting more out of this whiskey that Jack Daniels can’t deliver.
Overall (GD): What works well with this one is that the nose and palate are on the same page. No mix messages here just smooth old school whiskey. My issue with it though is that again just as with JD the flavors aren’t bursting through. The palate is also a bit unstable with the oak roaming free with nothing else to rein it in. A good poor but nothing spectacular.
Rating (JD): 74 / * *S
Rating (GD): 77 / * * *