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George Dickel No:12

Average score from 5 reviews and 24 ratings 88

George Dickel No:12

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George Dickel No:12

I received this bottle as a gift and I couldn’t wait to try it. If you’re used to bourbon, this is a really different flavor. A rich caramel hue in the bottle and glass, it pours somewhat oily, leaving traces on the glass when you swirl it. My first pour was neat, in a glencairn glass. The initial nose is one of strong alcohol, with a bit of burn on the scent. Once past that, there are some background touches of wood, spice and cinnamon. On tasting, you’re hit with a mouth of alcohol burn initially. It is almost overwhelming. I took a rest and then had another sip, swishing it in my mouth. I picked up some oak and spice, but the heavy pure whiskey taste was still dominant. To open it up a bit, I added aboit a half teaspoon of room temperature water. This is where all the flavors start coming through. After the water was added, I let it sit for a couple minutes and then sipped again. Leather, caramel, coffee and some nice spices were then evident. The water really cuts the burn and allows the other flavors to emerge. It offers a lovely warmth, a full mouthfeel and at the end, gives some hints of creme brulee and caramelized sugar. I would love this whiskey on a cold evening, sitting by a fire. It’s definitely one that will stay in my rotation.

Dickel 12 always has a place in my collection. I find the price range of $25 to $30 to be perfect for this whisky.

@mhock66 Thank you for this review. George Dickel No. 12 is always in my cabinet and I find it vastly superior to Jack Daniels, as well as Bulleit. "Elevated," as you wrote, is absolutely correct. I enjoy the finish in particular as the sweetness levels off, reminding me of a dissolving buttery caramel that I loved as a kid. I have enjoyed it neat, as well as with one single ice cube during our Indian Summers here in San Francisco - perfection. Can't beat the price tag, too!


I thought I had reviewed this one ages ago, so let's do it now, followed by a Dickel cask strength single barrel.

This is the standard Dickel No. 12, which seems to be the Tennessee whiskey (or, as they call it on the label, whisky) for those who don't like Jack Daniel's. I have no idea what "No. 12" means, any more than I know what JD's "No. 7" means. Must be a Tennessee thang.

The colour is a burnt caramel. On the nose...well, lots of burnt caramel too! Baked apple, cinnamon, star anise, cloves and wood smoke. Quite oaky. Roasted nuts. Soft vanilla. Herbal. Mintier - and maltier - with water. The smoother cousin to that other Tennessean.

On the palate there is burnt sugar, creme brûlée, wet tobacco leaves, ginger and more cloves. Again, very oaky, and with a heavy char. Medium mouthfeel. Dates. A bit of a sour note, which is interesting. Water brings out a bit more spice. Extremely rich.

The finish is full of cherrywood smoke, tobacco, nutmeg and sage. As I hinted at earlier, many of my whisky friends who don't like JD (but who like single malts and softer bourbons) like this one. To be, it is very much like JD dialled back a bit, with a subtle sourness thrown in. It's very good and I often enjoy drinking it. But it could still use JD's oomph.

@talexander, thanks for your nice review.

The Dickel mashbill is so high in corn that it qualifies to be called a corn whiskey. I especially like George Dickel # 12 compared to the twice the price George Dickel Barrel Select because the Dickel # 12 is almost always much drier. The Barrel Select which I have had lays the sweetness on pretty thickly...more than I would prefer.

I think the No. 12 is a vestigial reference to a 12 year age statement...long long ago, in a far-off galaxy.

I've had great experiences with George Dickel # 12, but unfortunately the bottle that I urged @Nock to buy was from a very unrepresentative batch, and not good. You really don't know if the next bottle with a given label is going to taste like the last one did.

I should have mentioned the mashbill: 84% corn, 8% rye, 8% malted barley. The barrel char is #4, the head char is #2.


I didn't plan on opening this tonight but haven't had a drink in months and wanted to try something new from the cabinet.

Nose - Sweet, light spice, syrupy cream notes along with some toffee.

Palate - Medium, round spicy arrival, with fizz (yes fizz), sugar crystals, explosive sweetness (corn)followed by a slight bitterness (rye) at the end which adds an interesting contrast to the sweet start. With water, much drier and more bitter based. Must be a sour-mash trait.

Finish - Smooth, spicy, and a tug of war between sweet and bitterness. Dry.

Overall, a good (dry) whisky. With a mash bill of 84% corn, 8% rye, 8% malted barley. Quite spicy without water.

May 29th and this bottle has about 1/3 left in it. I've been enjoying it quite a bit to say the least. I'd have to rate this much higher now. Its gotten smoother, more enjoyable and even sweeter after opening it. I'm gonna fetch 2 more bottles of this - its THAT good! 90 points.

George Dickel #12 does usually come across as dry, which I like. At 84% corn content this Tennessee Whisky is actually a corn whiskey, by US definitions.

George Dickel Barrel Select, which here costs about double what Dickel # 12 does, tastes a lot sweeter from Day 1. I actually prefer Dickel # 12 to the Barrel Select (and the Dickel # 8), and as you correctly observe, George Dickel # 12 sort of sneaks up on you with its sweet element. Lovely elegant whisky.


I've tried the really high end Scotches, Bourbons and all the over priced, snob appeal liqours over the years. But for absolute smoothness, delicious taste and aroma, I have found nothing better than this old time Tennessee Whiskey. Dickel No. 12 is, to me, the standard for smoothness and drinkability of all the world's whiskys. As a native Tennessean, I was attracted to my state's offerings while in college in the mid 1960s. I first tried Dickel then, and over the years, I have come back to it again and again when I just wanted a good whisky to enjoy. It has a sweetness and a mellowness that I have not found in any other whisky. If I could have but one whisky, Dickel No. 12 would be that whisky. There are a lot of good whiskys out there, but Dickel is my first choice, jand of the Dickels, No. 12 is the standard.

I bought the last 750 ml bottle of #12 today (for only $19 in change) at the local ABC Wine & Liquor in Boynton Beach, FL today. And I mean the very last as I was told that it wouldn't be stocked anymore. Tons of JD of course on their shelves and hardly anyone apparently knows that Dickel 12 is the real deal for a Tenn sour mash and at a higher ABV no less. The larger Total Wine & Liquor nearby stocks it but only at the 1.75L size. But for $33, guess it's a pretty good deal.

I'm not a heavy drinker, since a bottle will last me several months and I can go a couple of months between drinks. But when I DO feel in the mood, I usually reach for the Dickel. A glass of it satisfies me. It's all I ever need.


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

@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.

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.

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