George Dickel Bottled in Bond 13 Year Review [In Depth]

George Dickel Bottled in Bond 13 Year

George dickel bottled in bond 13 year review

Distillery: George Dickel

Type & Region: Tennessee Whiskey, Tennessee, USA

Alcohol: 50%

Composition: 84% corn, 8% rye, 8% barley Aged: 13 years in virgin American white oak

Color: 1.3/2.0 on the color scale (russet muscat)

Price: $40 MSRP

From the George Dickel website:

“George Dickel is excited to announce the brand’s newest limited release – George Dickel Bottled in Bond. Bold and balanced, this 13-year-old whisky is rooted in authenticity – reflective of Cascade Hollow Distilling Co.’s commitment to honestly producing quality whisky.At 100 proof, George Dickel Bottled in Bond can be enjoyed neat or on the rocks in addition to being well-suited for many of your favorite cocktails. Whisky drinkers can purchase this high quality, 13-year-old whisky at local fine wine and liquor stores in specific markets.”

Company Website

George Dickel Bottled in Bond 13 year overview

In not so elegant terms, George Dickel is that “other” company that makes Tennessee Whiskey, dwarfed by the gigantic Jack Daniel’s. Regardless of size, Dickel and Company have kindly and thoughtfully graced us with George Dickel Bottled in Bond 13 Year, a limited-release 13 year old Tennessee whiskey that was distilled and barreled in 2005. 

Given then trend of disappearing age statements, 13 years is a lifetime even for established distilleries that are running low on older whiskey (it’s slowly improving). Craft distillers are still years away from having anything that old. 
Dickel is often unknowingly best known as the whiskey in Smooth Ambler, Heaven’s Door, and Barrell bourbons, with these companies charging huge premiums for it. Now, George Dickel has cut out the middleman and released their own premium Bottled in Bond Tennessee whiskey for a shockingly reasonable $40. 
Older, as well as “limited”, doesn’t necessarily mean better, so let’s start this George Dickel Bottled in Bond review to find out if this is worth a spot on your shelf.

*As of December 2, 2019, George Dickel Bottled in Bond is Whisky Advocate’s 2019 Whisky of the Year.

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George Dickel Bottled in Bond 13 Year smell

George Dickel Bottled in Bond has a very round honey, maple syrup, crème brulee, and vanilla custard sweetness up front that only gets better over time, with a little dried grass, oak, and mint to supplement it. 

The sweetness is a little syrupy, but not overpowering, and reminds me of frosted cornbread, which smells great to me. There isn’t much fruit, with just a little underlying apple and citrus. I also detect just a hint of nuttiness, but far from the levels found in Larceny Wheated Bourbon or Booker’s.

Dickel Bottled in Bond has the usual charred oak, cinnamon, and nutmeg, but they’re so controlled and rounded. Using a cake metaphor, the oak and spice are well mixed into the sweetness like a spiced and slightly burnt frosting, and not like a separate dense layer of cake.
Underneath everything is a light coating of musty corn, oak, and mint, as if I was smelling this whiskey in a very old wooden barn with dried corn hanging everywhere.

Dickel Bottled and Bond 13 Year is fairly balanced, but skews towards being sweeter. The 50% alcohol is also generally subdued, showing how the long aging process, and maybe the charcoal filtering, have calmed it quite a lot.

George Dickel Bottled in Bond taste and aftertaste

George Dickel Bottled in Bond starts with grassy caramel, maple syrup, and crème brulee sweetness, but it’s not completely one-dimensional. Sweet corn, oak, and cinnamon extract are wrapped up in all the sweetness, as well as a light apple and peach fruitiness that add some depth. Especially on my first sip, I taste that Jolly Rancher and mineral sweetness that’s often found in George Dickel whiskeys. 

I personally enjoy it, but I’m surprised that I didn’t find it in the George Dickel 14 Year Single Barrel. The mouthfeel is slightly creamy and buttery from the high corn content in the mash. The alcohol is also well controlled, thanks to the long aging process.

“Chewing” releases a light herbal sweetness from the 8% rye. It provides a slightly herbal honeyed fennel, anise, and mint that add a contrasting sweetness and savoriness. I taste a little more cinnamon and cocoa, but it’s still not a lot. 
The oak imparted a lot of sweetness and mellowed the alcohol, but didn’t add so much deep and dark wood and spice. The Dickel mineral-y note also backs off as my mouth adjusts. 

All the same flavors move into the finish, with lightly sweet corn, honey, vanilla, grass, and oak tannins that eventually fade into mint. George Dickel Bottled in Bond 13 Year in a lot of ways is like Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel: sweet, but not quite as dark and cola-y. It tastes great, but it’s not particularly deep, and that’s ok.

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Place on the Whiskey Shelf

Mid shelf+

George Dickel Bottled in Bond 13 Year is a unique and very enjoyable whiskey. It has wonderfully mature and rich caramel, maple syrup, crème brulee, and marshmallow sweetness, with just with enough wood, spice, grass, and mint to keep it interesting and balanced. I also don’t mint the Dickel mineral-y and slight hard candy sweetness.

The only thing holding me back from giving George Dickel Bottled in Bond a “Top Shelf” rating is that it’s just not quite as complex as Stagg Jr or Wild Turkey Rare Breed Bourbon which have more developed fruit and spice traits, as well as general richness. Still, it’s very good.

I applaud George Dickel for bucking the trend and offering a great, yet somewhat affordable and accessible “limited” release whiskey. No one sells 13-year-old age-stated and 100+ proof whiskey for under $50 these days. 

Even $80-100 is rare, with a few exceptions such as Elijah Craig Barrel Proof, some 14-15 year old Knob Creek Single Barrel store picks, and Bulleit 12 year rye.

I really like George Dickel Bottled in Bond and recommend it for your shelf as well.

Alex author

Meet the Author: Alex

I have far too much fun writing about whiskey and singlehandedly running The Whiskey Shelf to bring you independent, honest, and useful reviews, comparisons, and more. I’m proudly Asian American and can speak Cantonese, Mandarin, and some Japanese.

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