Announced last week, Whisky Advocate’s best whiskey of 2019 is George Dickel Bottled in Bond Tennessee Whisky. Scratching your head? You’re not the only one.
Released in limited quantities early in the summer, it’s a 13-year-old whiskey from a distillery that’s not on many radars. George Dickel is a large Tennessee whiskey-making operation, but it exists in the shadow of the state’s whiskey champion, Jack Daniel’s. On top of that, the bottle was released early in the summer, which is traditionally a semi-dry period for heavy-hitting whiskey releases.
That all said, there wasn’t a whiskey released this year — or in recent years — that looks better by the numbers. George Dickel’s award-getting expression is aged for 13 years, cut to a sturdy 100 proof and sold for $36. That is unheard of in today’s whiskey market and would’ve been a steal almost a decade ago, too. “Such bargains result because Tennessee whiskey lives in the shadow of bourbon, which can easily command three or four times the price at this age.” Jeffery Lindenmuth explains in Whisky Advocate’s writeup. Lindenmuth suggests the whiskey leans heavy into peanuts, fruit and chocolatey flavors.
The unveiling of the magazine’s top whiskey of the year coincides with a release of its greater top 20 list, which includes other 2019 heavyweights like Four Roses’ Small Batch Select, Heaven Hill’s updated Bottled-in-Bond and the new-and-improved Baker’s Bourbon.