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  1. #1
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    Bought a bottle of Dickel #12 - Am confused

    I hope I don't offend any Dickel fans with this post, but I'm honestly stumped.

    I'm still adding to my list of what will be everyday pours, so I often try random stuff, particularly if it's less than $25 or so. So far those are 4R Yellow Label, ERSB10, and Breckenridge (though I'm looking for an everyday higher proof item too). Yesterday I decided to give Tennessee a try (after a long layoff) and bought a bottle of Dickel #12. I was almost offended. The nose was almost completely plastic (or vinyl), with what can only be described as hints of baby powder. Nothing stood out really on the palate, because this vinyl was so overpowering. I set it aside for about 10 minutes, and it got a little better. I was able to finish the pour (the smell lessened considerably with time), and by the end I could identify a few things in the finish, which was about average in length - I got some wood, and a lot of dryness, and something I would characterize as either charcoal, or chalk.

    Now I know I'm new to SB, and I really don't want to get written off immediately as someone without a palate, because I don't believe that is the case at all. (Happy to discuss my notes on anything I've tasted, so we can calibrate to each other.) I'm wondering a) could I have a bad bottle; and b) does Dickel do something that no one else does (that "cold-chilling" step, or something else) that just isn't sitting well with me.

    Pre-post edit: I am a chemist, and as a scientist I know better than to draw conclusions from limited (or incorrect) data. I'm sitting here with tonight's glass of the product. The vinyl/plastic smell is gone, but the high note in the nose is still best described as baby powder. I get slight amounts of vanilla, but overall the nose is pretty thin (synonym for weak/almost absent). The palate is also thin on flavor, though I get small amounts of tobacco. The finish is longer than last night, with a higher alcohol "burn" (I hate that word, because it generally has a bad connotation, and I personally don't think a burn is a bad thing in and of itself). I get none of the charcoal or chalk that I had last night, and on the fourth sip I am finally getting the wood that I had last night.

    Additional info: 1) Same glass was used both nights, washed, rinsed with distilled water, then rinsed with laboratory grade ethanol and air-dried. It's not a Glencairn, it's just a square, open (straight-sided) glass (A Crown Royal Black commemorative glass actually).
    2) Last night, the Dickel was preceded (earlier in the evening) by a small pour each of the Weller 12 and the OWA 107 in an A/B comparison. A couple of hours went by before the Dickel was poured.
    3) Tonite, the Dickel was preceded (3 hours or so ago) by a 1.5 oz pour of Tomatin 12 Scotch.

    Any thoughts on my last night's experience, or on this Dickel product? I'm not looking to start a war on my first day, but SB is a resource I want to use to its fullest.

  2. #2
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    Re: Bought a bottle of Dickel #12 - Am confused

    Maybe you got an "off" bottle. Usually Dickel Orange Label is held in higher regard.
    Joe
    Colonel Joseph B. "Bourbon Joe" Koch

    "Bourbon.....It's cheaper than therapy!!"

  3. #3
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    Bought a bottle of Dickel #12 - Am confused

    Chuck Cowdery recently posted something along the lines of: two whiskey experts can drink the same whiskey. One may find it amazing while the other hates it. Neither is wrong.

    Things are agreeable to some and not to others. Things taste differently on different nights. I recommend you let that bottle sit for a while and come back to it. Maybe you'll like it. Maybe Dickel 12 isn't for you. It is not a favorite of mine.

    For what it's worth, I'd recommend picking up a Glencairn or two, they make a difference.
    Last edited by HighInTheMtns; 12-28-2012 at 20:49.
    Jim

  4. #4
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    Re: Bought a bottle of Dickel #12 - Am confused

    It's more than ok to have an opinion that goes counter to the prevailing wisdom. My personal "meh" is Ancient Ancient Age 10 - I don't get it on that one.

  5. #5
    Mr. Anal Retentive Bourbon Drinker
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    Re: Bought a bottle of Dickel #12 - Am confused

    got an open bottle right now and it's great. Also in past week sampled Tomatin 12, OWA 107, and the Weller 12. Dickel is different; if you don't like it, no problem; plenty of other choices.

  6. #6
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    Re: Bought a bottle of Dickel #12 - Am confused

    Quote Originally Posted by SFS View Post
    Additional info: 1) Same glass was used both nights, washed, rinsed with distilled water, then rinsed with laboratory grade ethanol and air-dried.
    That C- in chemistry 101 is why my premed path ended rather quickly about 40 years ago but rinsing your glass with laboratory grade ethanol??? As to your plastic or vinyl or baby powder...maybe the same as the distinct vitamin bottle smell I get...we just categorize it differently. I like Dickel, usually have a bottle open which takes about 2 years to hit the recycle bin and seems to have a very stable and exact taste profile from bottle to bottle.
    Thad

    BTOTY-2011

  7. #7
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    Re: Bought a bottle of Dickel #12 - Am confused

    I agree with Thad, I think what you are tasting is what some here also recognize as the "vitamins" taste, meaning a distinctive taste and smell akin to that of the crunchy skin of a vitamin. IIRC, the term was first used here by Jeff Yeast, an early BOTY and former prolific contributor. I feel it is a house flavor of George Dickel, probably resulting from the fermentation of the beer and carried into the new distillate after stilling. It is not my favourite taste in bourbon-style whiskey, but I enjoy it once in a while. I once bought off the retail shelf in San Francisco some Dickel (black label) distilled in the 70's and you could taste it in that too although more subdued than in current bottlings, which may mean the stocks were more aged then, or maybe there is another explanation.

    I think most Dickel is consumed with cola and it works very well in that combination.

    American straight whiskey often exhibits very distinctive flavors because of the secondary (non-ethanol) constituents generated by the yeast, and the type of yeast is important too. In Beam you get (to me) a characteristic funky/earthy note; most iterations of Four Roses are flowery/spicy; Woodford Reserve, which is all-pot-stilled, has a characteristic oily note, almost like some Irish single pot still or pot still rum, and so forth. Heaven Hill's are more neutral (to me again) and "clean" and is WR's stablemate, Old Fitzgerald 100 proof. Jack Daniels seems very estery with yellow fruit and mango notes. These are specific house characteristics and are to be prized as giving identity to each product and as always taste will differ - personal taste - as to their merits. It is also true that some people do not detect the flavors I've mentioned and fair enough, there is no fully agreed taxonomy of tastes although I do find often that there is agreement amongst regular tasters as to what they find.

    Gary
    Last edited by Gillman; 12-29-2012 at 03:59.

  8. #8
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    Re: Bought a bottle of Dickel #12 - Am confused

    Sorry, I misspoke: Woodford Reserve is not all-pot-stilled; rather, the part of it that is distilled in Versailles, KY is pot-stilled. WR is a mingling of course of Brown-Forman's Versailles bourbon and bourbon it distills in Louisville in a conventional way (column still-and-doubler). I do find the pot still note prominent in WR, which is what I meant.

    Gray

  9. #9
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    Re: Bought a bottle of Dickel #12 - Am confused

    Quote Originally Posted by SFS View Post
    I hope I don't offend any Dickel fans with this post, but I'm honestly stumped.

    I'm still adding to my list of what will be everyday pours, so I often try random stuff, particularly if it's less than $25 or so. So far those are 4R Yellow Label, ERSB10, and Breckenridge (though I'm looking for an everyday higher proof item too).
    Where do you get Breck for under $25. My daughter lives a few miles away from the distillery and usually brings me some when she visits but it costs around $40 there. It is a great young bourbon and I would drink it regularly if I could get it for $25 or so.

  10. #10
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    Re: Bought a bottle of Dickel #12 - Am confused

    Quote Originally Posted by Enoch View Post
    Where do you get Breck for under $25. My daughter lives a few miles away from the distillery and usually brings me some when she visits but it costs around $40 there. It is a great young bourbon and I would drink it regularly if I could get it for $25 or so.
    Enoch, my apologies for the construction of that sentence. The list of bourbons was meant to link back to the "everyday pours" comment, not "the less than $25 comment". The $25 point is, for me, where I don't have to debate whether to spend the money to try something I know absolutely nothing about. Much above that, I'll do some research first, or apply the "flip a coin cause it may not be there tomorrow" mechanism.

    In the two local stores that I'm in regularly, the Breckenridge is $38 in one and $47 in the other (those are pre-tax prices). For comparison, I can only find the 4RYL in one of those stores, and it's $20. ER10 is $28 in both stores, but the more expensive store has moved off the $30 price for that bottle (maybe to match prices?).

    I'll be starting a thread on the Breckenridge, as I'd like some more input. I think it is a fine bourbon for 2 to 3 years in the barrel - remarkably complex, layered and well-balanced, with a relatively big nose (I enjoy big noses, especially on bourbons and Chardonnays). I know there has been some hullabaloo about putting "your name" on a product where the juice was sourced (Jason Pyle took a stance on his blog about Breck specifically), and this is sourced (so far) but it's good. I recommend it to everyone I meet that enjoys bourbon.

 

 

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