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George Dickel Rye Whisky

Review: George Dickel Rye Whisky  89.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (AKA Arctic Wolf)
Posted June 08, 2016

George Dickel Rye (introduced in 2012) is a straight rye whisky produced from a 95 % rye mashbill. It is the only whisky produced by the company (George A Dickel & Co.) not distilled and aged at their Cascade Distillery in Cascade Hollow, Tennessee.Instead the rye whisky is mashed using a 95% rye and 5% malted barley mashbill, then distilled and aged by Midwest Grain Products (MGP) in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. The whisky is then sent to Diageo’s Plainfield, Illinois facility where it is first chilled to a specific specifications before being charcoal mellowed, and then bottled at 45 % alcohol by volume. (The brand is currently owned by Diageo).

According to the fact sheets I was sent, the chilling of the whisky prior to carbon mellowing is based upon George Dickel’s belief that the whisky produced in cold winters was smoother than whisky produced in hot summers. However, it is true that most whiskies produced in North America which are bottled below 46 % alcohol by volume are subjected to a similar process called chill filtering as this is a proven method for removing residue which may show up as cloudiness in an unfiltered product.

George Dickel RyeIn the Bottle 4/5

Although my sample bottle was a 200 ml flask style bottle, George Dickel Rye Whisky would more regularly arrive in a standard long-necked whisky bottle as shown to the left. The label features jagged rather than straight edges which helps to make it stand out, and the colour scheme and fonts chosen are easy to read, and they are easy on the eyes. The presentation of the whisky is certainly fine for a moderately priced whisky.

In the Glass 9/10

When poured into my glencairn glass the whisky displays a lovely copper colour. I tilted my glass and gave it a twirl and saw that a thick oily sheen had been deposited on the inside of the glass and the crest which formed at the top of this sheen held true for a few moments before dropping some rather fat leglets back down into the whisky.

The breezes above the glass carry strong rye note coupled with woody spice, maple and caramel. The aromas have merged together well and the combination is very enticing. As I allowed the glass to breathe I noticed a nice mixture of vanilla and baking spice  cinnamon and hints of nutmeg and allspice) which gave the air a bit of a rum-like aroma. There was also lots of  marmalade and marzipan coming through as well as bits of graham wafer and honeycomb in the air.  Yumm!

In the Mouth 54.5/60

The whisky has a thickened, oily mouthfeel which gives the dram a richness I was not expecting. I can taste maple, caramel and heated rye spices alongside firm woody impressions of both cedar and oak with hints of bitter sap seemingly dripping from the wood. As the whisky breathes I taste building flavours of rye grain and hints corn flakes cereal.

I added a bit of ice, but that was a mistake as with ice more bitterness comes forward.  I remove the ice-cube and allowed my glass to warm up. Flavours of almond and marzipan emerged as well as a nice rich impression of orange Curacao which had melded itself into the caramel, rye and wood spice. All in all this is a very nice rye whisky and I find myself bumping the score just a little higher.

In the Throat  13/15

The 45 % alcohol content gives the Dickel Rye Whisky a strong push across the tonsils. Sappy flavours of oak and cedar linger along with the strong rye grain flavour. The combination of sappy wood and rye gives the finish a light but firm bitterness which the maple and caramel cannot quite contain.

Afterburn  9/10

George Dickel Rye Whisky has a firm rye character combine with a backbone of wood spice. These strong flavours are complemented (and balanced by) a lovely maple and caramel sweetness. The result is a great whisky suitable for sipping neat or to serve in short cocktails.

You may read some of my other Whisky Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.


Suggested Recipes

1794 SAM_2548The 1794 Cocktail (created by Dominic Venegas at “Range” in San Francisco) celebrates the US Whiskey rebellion which occurred in 1794. My serving uses a bit less Campari and Sweet Vermouth than the original recipe which allows the George Dickel Rye to shine just a bit brighter.

1794 Cocktail

2 oz George Dickel Rye Whisky
3/4 oz Sweet Vermouth (Cinzano)
3/4 oz Campari
Strip of Orange Peel

Add the ingredients into a metal shaker with plenty of ice
Shake until the outside of the shaker begins to frost
Strain into a cocktail glass
Garnish with a twist of orange peel

Please Enjoy Responsibly!

And if  you are interested in more recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for my mixed drink recipes!


As always you may interpret the scores I provide as follows.

0-25     A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49   Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59  You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69   Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74   Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky.  Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79   You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84   We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89   Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94   Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+        I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be more familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and  Bronze medal  scale as follows:

70 – 79.5    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95         Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)

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