17 Jan 2013
There have been plenty of exciting new ryes introducdc in recent years. (I’ve written about Bulleit, Knob Creek, Michter’s, and Breuckelen, and I’m not the only one noticing a resurgence of the classic American spirit.) With the introduction of their own new rye, Tennessee whisky maker George Dickel is putting its own spin on this spirit.
George Dickel’s parent company, Diageo, is the same as Bulleit’s, and the similarities between the ryes don’t end there. Both are distilled at Lawrenceburg Distillers Indiana (LDI) using the same rye-heavy recipe (95% rye and 5% malted barley). But of course whisky is far more than just the ingredients that go into it, and the Dickel rye takes its own distinct journey from barrel to bottle.
After five years in new, charred oak barrels (the legally required vessel for aging bourbon and rye whisky) the LDI-made Dickel is sent from Indiana to the bottling facility where it goes through the same charcoal chill-filtering process as Dickel’s original Tennessee whisky (Jack Daniels also uses the “Lincoln County Process“).
The resulting spirit is 90-proof and $25 for a 750 ml. bottle (notably the same price as Bulleit). It is orange-amber in color, with a nose featuring orange peel, oak, ethanol, and spice. The flavor is dominated by the wood (oak and spice) but there’s also a doughy bread flavor and some candied fruit. The finish is very dry and oaky.
I started tasting it straight, but very quickly found that watering down the proof just a bit mellowed the heat and oak, and let some of the complexities come out. Still, it’s not my favorite rye to enjoy straight (I definitely prefer its relative the Bulleit for that) but Dickel makes for an excellent mixing rye, especially in a proper Manhattan (rye, not bourbon, was the original Manhattan ingredient).
Looking for some cigar pairings? The spicy Fuente Opus X is recommended if you’re trying it straight. With a Manhattan, the Ecuadorian Sumatra-wrapped Tatuaje 7th Capa Especial has the balanced sweet and earth notes to complement the best of this new George Dickel Rye.
photo credit: George Dickel