Tennessee Whisky

Review: George Dickel Tabasco Barrel Finish

IMG_3748New from Cascade Hollow is, well, something I never thought I’d see – a whisky finished in ex-Tabasco barrels.  Yes, that Tabasco.

Let me take a step back here, this not actually a whisky, as it’s only 70 proof.  A whisky needs to be at least 80 proof to hold that moniker.

We know some Tennessee whisky was aged in Tabasco barrels for 30 days, then blended with “essence of Tabasco”, otherwise known as distilled Tabasco sauce.

If you already didn’t know, Tabasco barrels begin as ex-bourbon barrels.  There’s a connection between the two, but those barrels don’t impart any whiskey flavors to the pepper sauce.

Let’s be honest, as I mention in my Youtube review below, George Dickel Tabasco Barrel Finish isn’t meant to be studied in a Glencairn glass, meticulously dissecting aromas and flavors.  It’s meant to be a fun shot, or used in a cocktail.  A Bloody Mary comes to mind.

I love Tabasco as much as the next person.  It’s been a staple on my dining room just about my entire life.  But Tabasco and whiskey together?  Actually, it’s not bad.

On the nose, that lovely peppery and aromatic Tabasco essence leads, followed by feint hints of caramel and vanilla.  Tabasco proves to be dominant here, but not as much as you’d think on the palate.  Here, the famous pepper sauce adds an unexpected herbal sweetness, that, when put together with the whisky’s own caramel notes, provide a wonderful counterbalance to the peppery spice that ramps up.  I can pick out a touch of Dickel’s minerality.  The finish stays in the sweet and spicy realm with a little bit of a kick.

My takeaway here is this – George Dickel Tabasco Barrel Finish is unexpectedly nice, but don’t buy this to sip on neat in a Glencairn glass as you would do with whisky.  It’s not made for that.

As for me, I won’t reach for this everyday.  In fact, it’s going straight into my ‘mixers shelf.’  A shot of Hot Dickel, as it’s called, might be just the thing at a BBQ this summer.  I bet it’ll pair nicely with some smoked ribs as a shot, in a cocktail, or as part of a marinade.  $24.99

Thanks to George Dickel for the sample.  As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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BBQ and Whiskey

This past weekend I cooked some pulled pork and posted the above photo to my social media.  Since then, some folks have asked me for the pulled pork recipe or what cocktail I was drinking.  So, I thought I’d add a quick post with the recipe.


George Dickel 14 Year Old Hand Selected Barrel Review


My wife knows the way to my heart.  This past Valentine’s Day my wife Carly bought me a bottle of 14 year old George Dickel Tennessee Whisky.  It is a hand-selected barrel from Dorignac’s, a local New Orleans-area grocery store.  I really enjoyed the 9 year old George Dickel I received as part of the Dickel Dozen blogger program, so my expectations for the 14 year old Dickel were pretty high.

On the nose I get lots of oak, light caramel, and vanilla.  There’s a little baking spice in there… cloves or nutmeg, maybe?  I love that the distillery kept this at 106 proof.  You get some of that high-proof liveliness on entry, but calms down a little with more caramel, oak, and vanilla.  It’s not as sweet as its younger brother.  The finish is long and semi-sweet.

Overall this whiskey is an oakier version of its 9 year old brethren.  It’s not over-oaked.  Instead it just turns up that flavor element.  I tend to prefer older, oakier whiskies.  A bottle of 14 year old George Dickel cost my wife about $70.  The 9 year old will cost about $45.  The big question is which of the two do I like best?  For “everyday” drinking, I’d most likely reach for the Dickel 9 year old.  For nicer occasions, I’d easily grab the 14 year old Dickel.  Honestly, you can’t go wrong either way.  Highly recommended.