Established in 1870 halfway between Nashville and Chattanooga in Tennessee, George Dickel has become one of only two distilleries operating within the state, while maintaining its reputation for quality.
A successful merchant before founding the distillery, George A. Dickel aimed for the very start to produce a whiskey of quality that had been never seen in the United States. Using the pure, low mineral water present in the Cascade Springs he achieved his goal, to the point of refusing the label his product as whiskey, instead using the scotch standard - whisky.
Regardless of the name George Dickel's product was an immediate success on his store shelf, where it was originally called Cascade Tennessee Whisky. Soon, the product's reputation began to grow beyond his store, and soon it had become a popular beverage throughout Tennessee.
Every bottle of the whisky undergoes a six stage manufacturing process, which begins with selection of the highest quality corn, barley and rye to go into the mash which forms the base of the whisky. These grains are then used within the mash tubs which after heating and mixing with the spring water moves onto the fermentation vats.
Once the product has been fermented to a level of 6% ABV it is then distilled twice, first using a column still, and then through a pot-still doubler. This distilled liquid is charcoal mellowed. George Dickel is unique in that at this stage the whisky is chilled, which produces a smoother character to the whisky. The final stage is the aging, the whisky is aged in new white oak barrels for up to 12 years.
George A. Dickel died in 1894, and in his honor the whisky was renamed George Dickel Whisky. Unfortunately, prohibition came into affect in Tennessee in 1910 and the distillery was closed in Cascade Hollow. Production continued in Kentucky until federal prohibition became law in 1919.
The brand was relaunched in 1937 by the Schenley Distilling Co. which had bought the George Dickel trademark previously. As part of the relaunch, the distillery manufacturing the brand was located in Louisiana until 1958 where after legislation was passed the distillery moved back to its traditional home in Cascade Hollow.
While the distiller has gone through many owners, all have focused on increasing the brand's distribution network, first ensuring that it was available throughout the United States and then overseas. The brand is now available throughout Europe, Asia and Australia.
A serious overestimation in demand for the whisky resulted in the mid 1990s for supply to exceed demand and cause the price to drop dramatically. To counter this, the owners of the brand (which was by now Diageo) closed the distiller until 2003 while demand for the whisky increased and the value to grow.
Today, George Dickel is proud of it heritage and being one of two distilleries in Tennessee. Despite the brand's ownership changes, the drive for quality has never been stopped - with production of the whisky being almost identical to production would have been like in 1870.
- George Dickel No.8 - 80 proof
- George Dickel No.12 - 90 proof