You wouldn’t necessarily expect the word “affordable” to be used to describe Whisky Advocate’s Best Whisky of 2019, but that’ exactly the case. The George Dickel Tennessee Whisky took the honor and is reasonably priced at just $36.
It’s true that the Tennessee whisky attracts a lot of attention because of its price point, but that’s only part of why it won Whisky Advocate’s coveted Best Whisky title. The whisky was bottled at 100 proof and then aged for 13 years. That’s part of why the price stands out so much. Something of that kind of quality is usually much more expensive. “Such bargains result because Tennessee whiskey lives in the shadow of bourbon, which can easily command three to four times the price at this age,” notes Jeffery Lindenmuth in his explanation for the Whisky Advocate. The price point, however, was always a part of the plan. Nicole Austin has been acting as the general manager and distiller at George Dickel’s Cascade Hollow Distilling Co. since 2018. Her vision was to create an affordable whisky that consumers could trust. Austin, who got her start with New York craft distiller Kings County Distillery after earning a chemical engineering degree, meticulously searched through the George Dickel warehouses for the best barrels. That’s when she came across this whisky.
To make this whisky, George Dickel used a practice of charcoal filtering the whisky before it is aged, which results in a whisky that is softer around the edges without sacrificing any of its intensity. There’s a hint of peanut on the nose, while the flavor of the whisky is heavy in fruit, especially orange marmalade and caramel apple. There’s a balance between bitt and sweet, with a flavor of burnt sugar, Mexican chocolate, chocolate-covered almonds, and toffee. Priced as low as it is, the George Dickel Tennessee Whisky will go quickly, especially after receiving such high honors.