George Dickel No:12

Tennessee: Spicy, Sweet, and Subtle

Reviewed by
Connosr member:



6th Feb 2011

Reviewer rating:


About this score:

The average score for this whisky is 89.

Tasting Notes by Victor

Jack Daniels and George Dickel are the only two legal distillers of Tennessee Whiskey. Jack Daniels, owned by Brown-Forman in Louisville, dwarfs George Dickel in volume and is the #1 selling whisk(e)y in the USA. George Dickel brand of Tullahoma, Tennessee, is currently owned by Diageo PLC, and makes three whiskies: George Dickel Old # 8, Superior # 12, and George Dickel Barrel Select Tennessee Whisky. The Superior # 12 name has nothing to do with the age of the whisky, which is 4 yrs. Dickel is one of the few American distillers to choose to use the Scottish spelling of 'Whisky' in its titles. Tennessee whiskeys usually have grain mashbills in the same range as most bourbons. What differentiates Tennessee whiskeys from bourbons, other than location of production, is the use of a thick layer of sugar maple charcoal to filter the whisky prior to bottling. This maple charcoal filtration is claimed by the distillers to make the whisky more smooth. It also unquestionably gives a sweet maple sugar taste to the whiskeys from Tennessee.

Nose: maple sugar, honey, citrus, a hint of spice

Taste: delicious oak, with prominent maple sugar. This is refined, sweet, and elegant. Vanilla and a little caramel from the wood are apparent. The spices are much more apparent in the mouth than in the nose. These are mostly high and middle notes here, without much bass

Finish: rather long, with the wood and spice holding up very well together

Balance: this is a whisky whose elegance is unusual in Tennessee, in fact, the only Tennessee whisky that I really like. Dickel # 8 is rather rough and crude by comparison according to my palate. I am not a big fan of any of the Jack Daniels products, although there may be a single barrel of it out there somewhere that I may like. My wife, my sister and I had no trouble downing a bottle of Dickel # 12 on a cruise a year ago, and it was perfect to the occasion. I would recommend this one if you are in a mood where sweet is ok, and you are looking to appreciate lightness of body, richness of flavour, and subtlety. I would also point out that this is a whisky that Jim Murray likes quite a lot: he gave it a 90/100 rating in his 2011 Whisky Bible


Whisky details


George Dickel




Pale Gold



AboutChoice wrote:

@Victor, a very thorough review again, and a well-deserved boost for an under-rated and best-buy whiskey. I might add that George Dickel #12 comes in an attractive retro bottle. Regarding other Tennessee whiskies, I am very fond of my bottle of JD Single Barrel ... which may indeed be only one of a kind. Now I will toast a George Dickel to you !

07 February 2011 04:20

Victor wrote:

@AboutChoice, thank you for the toast. I am delighted to hear that you are a fan of George Dickel # 12. Matched with the right mood it is an absolutely phenomenal whisky, and, as you point out, a fantastic buy for the money. I tried JD Single Barrel only once, and it didn't work for me, but I certainly leave open the possibility that I might have a good experience with another attempt. In doing the re-tasting for this review I opened a new bottle for sampling and also finished off a little bit from an old bottle. Compared with the new bottle, the old bottle had lost quite a bit of its full flavour after only about a year. There seems to be quite a bit of variability in how different whiskies will change once the bottle has been opened.

07 February 2011 12:20

onebourbon wrote:

Very nice review. I just tried this one from a 50 ml sample bottle last night and I have to say this is a bargain for the $21.90 my state (Virginia) is charging for a 750 ml bottle. It had very rich, balanced flavors and a very good full-flavored finish. Some whiskies linger on the finish with sort of a one note, whether it is the oak, alcohol, or another flavor, but this one came full force through the finish with some delicious flavor combinations.

11 February 2011 13:21

Victor wrote:

@onebourbon, I am very glad to hear that you have been enjoying the Dickel #12!

11 February 2011 13:46

Pudge72 wrote:

The Dickel #12 has arrived at the LCBO! While it is over 50% higher in price, compared to Michigan (C$37 vs. US$22 + state tax), it is still a relatively small outlay for a good bottle of US whisky (the direct competition, JD, is C$30 for the same bottle size @ LCBO). I will pick this up sometime in 2012 (currently only at one LCBO location) and make a different pick-up on a future border crossing.

21 January 2012 19:01

GregLogan wrote:

Viktor - The significant education in this small space made my time worthwhile spent. Indeed I had some "Chicken & Dickel" at Hwy 99 about a year ago and was pleasantly surprised. I am motivated now with my current hobbying (just purchased Bushmill's 21y Irish for about $80 (and some stiff shipping fees...) to be open to options. You rated an 89 and I take your rating seriously. I look forward to an opportunity.


31 March 2012 02:27

GregLogan wrote:

BTW - same experience re: JD - at least the standard JD. My mini-JD was quite different and at least smooth enuf to drink...

31 March 2012 02:28

GregLogan wrote:

Correction: s/h/b - mini- Gentleman Jacks.....

31 March 2012 02:29

FMichael wrote:

Just picked up a bottle this afternoon, and couldn't wait to have a wee dram.

From my recent purchases (Elijah Craig 12 yr, Evan Williams Single Barrel X 2, and Russel's Reserve 10 yr) - this George Dickel No 12 might be my favorite.

18 June 2015 20:43

FMichael wrote:

Oh - almost forgot...Thanks Victor for recommending this fine whisk(e)y!

18 June 2015 20:48

Victor wrote:

@FMichael, that is excellent to hear that you are enjoying your George Dickel # 12!

18 June 2015 21:02

Nock wrote:

@Victor, sadly, the bottle I picked up with you is quickly becoming one of the worst bottles I have ever owned. It has shifted since we first opened it, and not for the better (which was my hope). I think it is the corn note that smells like acetone and wood. Not good. I can't even hide it in a cocktail. The offensive tone just soars through.

18 June 2015 23:07

Victor wrote:

@Nock, I'm very sorry to hear that. That was a very strange bottle of Dickel to begin with.

It is always a bit horrifying to encounter a bad bottle/batch of a whisky which you love, especially when you've recommended it to a friend. I will, as I promised, be willing to take it off your hands at cost.

18 June 2015 23:22

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