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94 points

George Dickel Bottled in Bond 13 year old (Distilled in Fall 2005) Tennessee Whiskey, 50%

Following Tennessee’s practice of charcoal-filtering the distillate before aging, this whiskey is soft around the edges yet delivers plenty of intensity. The mouthwatering peanut aromas evoke memories of cracking open a school lunchbox while the palate delivers abundant fruit: orange marmalade and caramel apple. Fine bitter-sweet balance suggests burnt sugar, Mexican chocolate, chocolate-covered almonds, and toffee. Indeed, sweet nuts, like French burnt peanuts, candied pralines, and marron glacé, seem to be the common thread here, lending this a consistent chord from initial nose through the drying, pleasantly spiced finish. As recently as 2016, Dickel appeared to be reeling, following the departure of two longtime distillers. In 2018, 33 year old Nicole Austin, a chemical engineering graduate who got her start with New York craft distiller Kings County Distillery, took over as general manager and distiller. Austin set about cherry-picking the warehouses for exceptional barrels, a dramatic change of course from the just-released George Dickel Tabasco Brand Barrel Finish, finished in hot sauce barrels. The result is this 13 year old whiskey, which like all bottled in bond spirits results from one distilling season—here, the fall of 2005. In this way, bottled in bond whiskey is similar to a vintage wine, making this release a limited edition by definition. We relish well-aged, delicious whiskey at a bargain price—and all whiskey lovers have reason to applaud George Dickel on hitting its stride. Number 1 in the 2019 Top 20

Reviewed by: (Winter 2019)