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George Dickel No 12 (White Label) Tennessee Whisky

George Dickel No. 12 Tennessee Whisky, 45% abv(90 Proof), $19/bottle

George Dickel No. 12 was a major shock to the system honestly. And I’m not sure why because many folks are devoted drinkers of the stuff, including my late (and great) grandparents. But this is a lesson that a higher price does not equate to a better product. In the case of George Dickel No. 12, that’s absolutely true. This amber/copper Tennessee Whisky (Dickel prefers to use the traditional Scottish spelling, losing the “e”) smells of pungent sweet corn, honey, dried fruits (apricots/raisins), scant vanilla, and some floral notes. The first sip is where this whisky shows it’s stuff with well integrated sweetness of honey and vanilla, sweet corn and grain, followed by mint and toasted oak. Wonderfully soft but, layered, persistent, and full of flavor – almost elegant. The finish is sweetly spiced with long and lingering oak and vanilla. A beautiful pour of whisky that makes Tennessee proud. This may be one of the top 2-3 whiskys under $20 on the planet. Mr. Dickel (and my grandparents) would be proud.

Sour Mash Manifesto Rating: 8.7 (Excellent)

52 Comments

  1. Big Country says:

    Picked up a bottle for the opening weekend of college football at your suggestion. Found it on Rocky Top for $13.99. Great whisky and I love supporting a Tennessee distillery!

  2. Texas says:

    Jason,

    Have you tried the No. 8? I love the No. 12 as well.

    I would love to try a Barrel Proof version of Dickel No. 12…maybe you could put in a good word for that for me?

  3. I think No 8 is fantastic. A bit sweeter and more rounded than No. 12. The 12 year old is a bit more elegant and the wood notes come out stronger as you would expect, but I really think both are phenomenal values.

    Heck I’d love to try a barrel strength. Personally I think Diageo (GD owner) and George Dickel as missing the boat. No 12 is a premium whiskey and they could package it better and offer some variations of it. Barrel Select is a good product also, but it’s not a barrel proof. That would certainly be interesting.

  4. Chris says:

    I have recently opened a bottle of Dickle #12 and it is excellant, how this whiskey is sold as a lower end American whiskey I don’t know but I will take advantage of it.

  5. Amen Chris. George Dickel No. 12 is value personified – fantastic whiskey at a value price.

  6. Alan says:

    What is the true age of #12? I’ve heard in the neighborhood of 10yrs. Any info out there on the age of #12 & #8?

  7. Great question Alan. We cannot tell for sure, but clearly, using the term “No.” instead of the term “Year” leaves it open. I’ve heard anything from 7 years to 12 years and everything in between. My best guess is it’s based on taste. Some barrels in the aging facility might be ready in X years and others in Y – then the batch them together when they feel like they’ve got the right blend. So it varies, but I don’t think it’s 12 years old. It’s darn fine whiskey though – really exceptional stuff.

  8. Alan says:

    Would love to hear your thoughts on Dickel 12 vs Gentleman Jack.

  9. chris shriver says:

    i found bottle and all it has on it is what seems to be in white paint “DICKEL 1870 Tennessee SOUR MASH WHISKEY” could you tell me if i just found a bottle or if its old?

  10. Chris, that’s pretty cool man. Did you find this at a store or was this a “dusty” bottle that you found somewhere?

  11. chris shriver says:

    i found it out in my backyard

  12. AdamC says:

    Just found a bottle of this. And its amazing. Got a liter for 25 up here in NY. So not to bad to all. Its better than the other Tennessee whiskey to drink neat. But when I mix I still love old #7 the best. But for sipping this is amazing.

  13. MW says:

    Thank you for this review. I must admit, I was one of those who turned up their nose at TN whiskey…bad memories of Jack Daniels – bleh. But I saw this review & then saw it in the store & bought it – heck, it was only $17. What a bargain!! This is good stuff & will probably be a keeper in my liquor cabinet because it tastes so good neat but is reasonably priced to use as a mixer. I agree that the nose is pretty much nonexistent -when I poured the first glass & sniffed I thought “oh no, it’s going to be a dud” but then I tasted it & it was a whole new whiskey – wonderful.

  14. Dave in Oklahoma says:

    Liquid Gold. George Dickel is my base line that I compare all the other American whiskey&bourbon against.
    I absolutely love #12. I hate to admit, I was a little disappointed with the single barrel that I received at Christmas. I still have my #12!!!
    Go Sooners!!!
    Dave in Oklahoma.

  15. Dave I concur. Dickel No. 12 is great stuff. Thanks for commenting!

  16. Doug Atwell says:

    Oh my….tried some George Dickel No. 12 Tennessee Whisky the other night based on your recommendation. Outstanding stuff!!! Never been a great fan of Tennessee Whiskey, but after George Dickel 12…..I find myself saying Go Vols!!!! And considering I graduated from the University of Kentucky…that is some good stuff!!! Far better than Jack Daniels!!!

  17. Doug, George Dickel can do that for a man. I bet it’s converted more folks to a Volunteer state of mind than most.

  18. David says:

    I’ve had this a couple of times over the last two years. Could the whisky improved over the last year or two? Seriously, this stuff is like catnip for me lately! I never cared for TN Whisky in the past, but the last bottle of D12 really hit the spot. Nose was beautiful vanilla, very smooth and flavorful and…..at $15 for a 750ml, could become a habit.

    I’m really looking forward to trying the barrel select. From your description Jason, it would appear to be select version of the Dickel 12.

  19. David I suppose it’s possible it could have improved some. Whiskey is a natural product and that’s quite possible. I don’t believe their process has changed much.

    I do agree that this sure tastes very close to Dickel No. 12 so i’d venture to guess it is the “select” small batch version of No. 12.

  20. David says:

    Jason I just tried the barrel select. It’s heavenly. Vanilla and honey galore. I’ve drank bourbon, Scotch and Irish, and this is as good as $50+ bottles in any of those categories. My question is barrel select worth double the price of the No 12?

    I’ll have to drink more to come to a conclusion. Thanks for the reviews Jason!

  21. Jason says:

    What chris shriver (post from April 7th, 2011) has is probably the ceramic jug that Dickel released in 1976.

    http://www.georgedickelrcs.com/RCSDickelHistory11.html

  22. DBMaster says:

    This is THE Dickel bottle for all of you who want to be whiskey geeks and regular geeks at the same time. LOL!

    http://img.auctiva.com/imgdata/4/1/4/1/9/6/webimg/500655747_tp.jpg

  23. JK says:

    Jason, Thanks for your review of the #12, as well as the GDBS. Those bottlings have become personal faves, and now also unreal values at their respective price points in this area. A large retailer is dropping the #12 from the shelves and blowing out stock @ $11.99/btl. Yowee, I’d never bought a case of any one spirit before, but this is one I can afford to enjoy (I think) leisurely for a long time and still not commit very much cash. Any ideas how long unopened bottles retain “near-release” freshness (via storage in 60* wine cellar) ?

  24. JK that is a tough question, but I usually don’t worry too much about it until it’s about half gone. I think 4-6 month range you are okay, but it’s a bit of an unknown. Let me know if you notice any differences.

  25. JK says:

    Thanks for your opinion Jasonand I do highly value it. That definitely affects risk/reward of getting a whole case at the low price. I’ll pick up only 4 btls or so now. That volume represents a reasonable consumption rate of one specific product for six months around here,with our group involved. So many good things out there to try !

  26. DBMaster says:

    If you enjoy the stuff as much as you say you do, heck, as much as I do, why would you want anyone to take further notice? The only good that can come of that MIGHT be a barrel strength expression. The BAD that can come with that is higher cost and reduced quality as a relatively small distillery (compared to the major players) tries to ramp up production to meet demand. Enjoy it for what it is. I have done so for well over twenty years.

  27. JK says:

    Jason, I’ve reversed field a bit about having concern for storage of unopened bottles and bought a couple cases of the #12 today at $11/btl, on 10% case discount and close out. Among our whiskey group, this will be our bourbon event “stake in the ground” for evaluating other products, and it’s a darned fine one too. We heard this product was being dropped from the shelf locally by the chain store due to an underwhelming recent re-review from the Malt Advocate. FYI !

  28. Jamie says:

    is cascade hollow good? it only 3y old.
    Barrel Select too toasty, heavy for my palate. but yes that dickel smell was there. it the best.
    thinking importing cascade so it gets expansive.
    would it have this characters I like:
    butter fresh corn , dough, not toasty, mellow. and a heat that does not seems straight flat
    no they have no no 8 or no 12.

  29. Jamie, Cascade Hollow is good, but it just doesn’t compare to the 12 and Barrel Select. Those are just much better in my opinion.

  30. Jamie says:

    Is old DICKEL Powderhorn 24 year old Dickel? sounds like rocket power. maybe it’s just no 12. the cascaded was sold so i’m back to auction. They said no 12 is coming but it will be a while. I assume it’s not the No 12 from early Dickel reopening so they have better stick to work with. I’m back to Auction.

  31. Jamie says:

    stock. not stick. oh so cascade is more jd 7 delicate, fresh, light. the barrel select just little too much wood for my palate to handle. no 12 was just right. maybe I’ll hold out on that one.

  32. Jamie says:

    Got my No 12 with the tax etc. It’s impecable on the balance of sweet and sour and burnt maple and soft grain mash and the char. It’s reminds me of a little bbq at the end with the smoke. And it ignites with warms perfectly. My taste and smell are hardly function so maybe im missing the pungent fresh corn and charcoal. I may try there younger ones next time for something very light.

  33. Jamie says:

    it actually mixes in milk good.

  34. doyle padgett says:

    just opened a 110 year commerative bottle of white label dickel. i recieved it as a gift in 1980 and held on to it until now. shared it with my brother, and we both agreed it was some of the best we have ever had. he will soon turn 70 and we have both drank a lot of whiskey in our time. it was the powder horn bottle decanter. im glad i saved it for 32 years.

  35. Zacheriah Harmony says:

    Between 1975 and 1985 I “shared” a lot of Dickle while touring the West Coast w/ Willie, John Austin Paycheck, Joe Ely & a few of their friends. I`d carry one of those `76 Jugs in a special padded pouch hanging under my shoulder. We made “case runs” in Oakland, Fresno, Stockton, San Diego & Redding. our cry was: “Put a tickle in you r pickle with George A. Dickle, Tullahoma, Tennessee Sour Mash Whisky!” Abstaining the past 14 years due to viral inflammation (liver), I endured the 48 week treatment 3 times before it worked. Medically cleared by physicians for moderate consumption, I wonder, what has changed?
    straight-up sipper.

  36. Cheers Zacheriah.

  37. Jamie says:

    I never thought of Dickel 12 at Barrel Proof! What a mouth filling thought!! Wow!!!

    Just got no 8. Its at Max on the wood at center palate and really overwhells the sour mash.

  38. Mark says:

    Do you have a Scotch glass? I hate to see you drink from that wine glass; I think the Scotch tulips works better. As a Scotsman who lives in Tennessee, I agree with you wholeheartedly: this is a phenomenal whiskey for the money. Good review, thanks.

  39. Dawn says:

    Jason, In our foray into the dark side (!), we’re becoming more and more curious about this whiskey. The #12 stands stylistically very far apart (in a good way) from the Bourbons in our cabinet. I mean in terms of what seems like wood aging effects. Sort of a low resin, low char, modest vanilla and caramel. Do you have any info about the barrels used at Dickel ? It seems like they must be using a comparatively moderate toast in the oak barrels, or at the least some mix of used and new barrels, or perhaps shorter time in wood. Is it even aged exclusively in oak (as opposed to seeing time in other woods, such as redwood or chestnut, etc.) ????

  40. Evan says:

    Thank you for this review, Jason. Your site has been a great resource for me, as I began exploring bourbon and American whisky about a year ago (dropped the ‘e’ now, in honor of GD) . Once again, you haven’t steered me wrong with GD12. What a wonderful whisky and a nice contrast with the bourbons on my shelf. I’m not great at picking up specific flavors, but I couldn’t get “buttered, toasted corn” out of my head while sipping this. Delightful. Even at a little higher price here in VA than others ($22.40), it’s still a fantastic value. Still $2 cheaper than JD7. How someone walks into a store with $25 and a hankering for TN whisky/whiskey, and doesn’t walkout with this, I’ll never know.

  41. Storcke says:

    Jason, I’ve thanked you already for introducing me to Dickel 12–it immediately made it into my top 5 everyday pours, even though it’s unlike anything else I like: light char, light caramel, but that really wonderful smooth, buttery, toasted corn taste. Now my wife has declared it her favorite whisk(e)y, period. And she’s really picky. So thanks again.

  42. Jeff says:

    Jason, Great website. I really enjoy your reviews. Thanks for the recommentation of the George Dickel #12 White Label. It is wonderful. You mentioned that this is in your Top 3 under $20 Whisky’s. What are the other 2?

  43. David Dedman says:

    Hi Jason,
    Love 12. Wondering what rating you would give No 8 since you said it was fantastic?

  44. Roger says:

    Seconding Jeff’s recent comment — also wondering what the “other 2″ best under $20 are…

  45. Dawn says:

    Jason, Picked up another bottle of old reliable (#12) this week and noticed that it bears a face-lifted label. Features bolder and darker lettering, with a less faded looking old-timey sense. The whisky seemed spot-on with previous batches however, perhaps even more intense.

  46. Duke says:

    I fly fish a river near the distillery. Needless to say, I have to stop in and pick up the Barrel Select when I’m near Tullahoma. The little distillery in the hollow is a throw back to simpler times and their whisky reflects that quality. The No. 12 is my go to and is acquired by the “handle” at a ridiculous price. Nothing finer for my palate.

  47. Scott says:

    Jason, really enjoying your site. New to drinking whiskey/bourbon and was lucky enough to try Dickel no. 12 as one of my first drinks. I’ve been comparing everything else to it. I always look for ‘plan b’s’ in case supplies dry up for any given reason. Can you recommend whiskies that are similar in taste to DIckel’s? Thanks and look forward to more reviews!!!

  48. Jamie says:

    What do you think of Dickel Rye? Is it mouthfilling like No. 8? I’m not sure if they mellow this rye before barrel and it’s just maple finished. Thinking of buying in Australia online if the alcohol is not hot. I don’t find Dickel whiskys like that at all.

  49. Kitty says:

    Where can I get this in the Tulsa area? Anyone know?

  50. Bob K says:

    Jason, I often read your reviews before trying new bourbons/whiskeys as I find that our tastes are remarkably similar. Many times I have been rewarded for trusting your assessments on numerous spirits. Having said that, I just tried a bottle of Dickel 12 on your recommendation and must totally disagree with you on this one. Even at this low price point I think the Dickel 12 is awful. The nose and palate is remarkably boring. Unless you you are looking for nothing more than buttery corn, this whisky is a waste of money at any price. Maybe your recommendation is influenced by the fact that the distillery is in your backyard? Sorry.

2 Trackbacks

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by John Lane, Jason Pyle. Jason Pyle said: What's the best #whisk(e)y under $20? There aren't much better than George Dickel No. 12. Latest review: http://ow.ly/2wrlq [...]

  2. [...] distillery. Is it because they produce the best whiskey? No – not exactly. I do love their 12 year old and Barrel Select, and it’s such a quaint, beautiful distillery tucked into a remote hollow [...]