Jack Daniels vs. George Dickel

Many moons ago, we put these two Tennessee whiskeys side-by-side for a tasting. Which was best, the global goliath and cultural icon, or the less-well-known brand from Tullahoma?

To see, read the below classic review from the year 2001.

 

George Dickel No. 12 and Jack Daniels Old No. 7
by F. Sot Fitzgerald
The other night I was in a classy restaurant. Eyeballing their cocktail and liquor list, I laughed. “Look!” I said, leaning nearly into the lap of a woman I had just met, “They screwed up. They have Jack Daniels listed as a Bourbon.” She looked at me confused, and returned to her drink. I slinked back on to my stool and let her be.

Since I couldn’t tell her that all Bourbon is American whiskey but not all American whiskey is Bourbon, I’ll tell you. And if you know this already, well, then, skip ahead. Bourbon is a type of American whiskey. By law Bourbon must be made from 51% corn and it must be aged in new charred white oak barrels. Contrary to what some folks say, Bourbon does not have to be made in Kentucky to be Bourbon (it’s not like Champagne, which must be made in Cham…you get the point).

Jack Daniels and George Dickel are Tennessee whiskies. What makes a whisk(e)y a Tennessee whisk(e)y is filtration, about which more is said below.

Jack Daniels Old No. 7 (86 proof) is made of corn, rye, barley malt and “iron-free” water.  It’s filtered (poured) through charcoal before going into barrel. It’s ridiculously popular but is a good whiskey.  It tastes of caramel, some vanilla on nose,  and charred wood close.

Very nice, but golly is it sweet! Still, it’s a good place to start if you are new to whiskey.  Just don’t stay there forever.  (Rating***1/2) Click here to purchase Jack Daniels Old No. 7

George Dickel No. 12, though less likely to appeal to whisky (note the “e”-less Scottish spelling of Whisky that Dickel uses) novices, is superior to Jack Daniels Old No. 7.  It’s distilled from corn, barley and rye, and as they note, it has “no preservatives, dyes, or strange  ingredients you can’t pronounce.”  It is double distilled then charcoal filtered through sugar maple before being “chill-mellowed” for 7-10 days.

What’s chill mellowing?  I’ll let the folks at Dickel speak for themselves:

“Somewhere along the way, George discovered that the batches of whisky he tasted during the winter months were noticeably smoother than the ones from warmer seasons. George learned that the chilled whisky became more viscous (thick), so it filtered more cleanly.  This produced an extraordinarily smooth-bodied whisky. He called the process chill-mellowing.”

Then it’s plopped into charred American white oak barrels and aged for no less than 8 years.

It’s just slightly darker than JD No. 7 and much more complex.  It has notes of honey, barrel, nuts, and a spearmint spiciness. (Rating****1/4) Click here to purchase George Dickel No. 12

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11 thoughts on “Jack Daniels vs. George Dickel

  1. Hello I am so glad I found your blog, I really found you by accident, while I was searching on Digg for something else, Anyways I am here now and would just like to say thanks for a tremendous post and a all round entertaining blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to look over it all at the moment but I have book-marked it and also included your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read more, Please do keep up the great work.

  2. Bought a bunch of whiskeys to allow for “cuttings”….have tried them all and I have to say that the George Dickel has proved to be the “sleeper” in the bunch. Absolutely the most interesting…..I always come back to Jack Daniels it seems…but this is one time I have to say that Mr. Daniels is taking a back seat.

  3. Dickle is aged better and is smother.Also the barrles are made of better wood.

    Its Dickle by a full lenght as they cross the finish line

  4. George Dickel is and has always been my favorite
    I’ve only seen one add for George Dickel No. 12 it was
    about 40 Years ago, a billboard on Sunset Blvd. in LA
    it got my attention for two reasons, being Cowboy myself
    it caught my eye, a Cowboy hat and all sitting in a rocking chair
    holding a glass and with a bottle of George Dickel No. 12, it didn’t
    say anything else it didn’t need to.

  5. Dickey whisky is marvelous stuff. I also hear that Dickel makes the BARRELL brand of whiskeys, which are getting all sorts of great reviews.

  6. I’m a bourbon drinker and normally stick with beam double oak or the bonded and never heard of dickell until today. I decided to go for it and I’m glad I did. Although not a bourbon it’s one of my new favorites. Full of flavor and aroma. Hands down one of the best and I’ve only had a couple drinks of it. It’s not even in a league with Jack Daniels.. It blows it out of the water if so.. Just putting this out there.. If you haven’t tried it, you must give it a try.. New favorite dickell… And I haven’t even tried the 12 yet 😀

  7. George Dickle is my favorite whisky, but not the #12. I like the Black Label #8. I have maybe 15 different whiskeys at home, some quite expensive, but when I get off work and sit down and relax, it’s usually George Dickle #8 in my glass, sometimes with an ice cube, sometimes without, just depends on my mood.

    The #12 is smoother, but it lacks the character of the #8. In this case the less expensive is the better of the two.

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