A friend recently gave me a 2 oz. sample bottle of George Dickel 10 year old Special Barrel Reserve. I had never tasted any Dickel product before, so I thought I'd post my impressions:
Color: light umber
Body: surprisingly thick, given the proof and charcoal filtering. Heavy in the glass, with wiry, long-lasting legs.
Nose: toasted coconut, burnt sugar pralines.
Mouthfeel: creamy, with a long-delayed alcohol bite. Some oak at the sides of the tongue.
Taste: initially empty with a unidimensional sweetness. With some time, however, a medley of flavors and aromas develop which are evocative of an old-time country store. Karo syrup, horehound cough drops, soot (kerosene lanterns?), worn old floorboards, nails in kegs. Wool (I read somewhere that the Dickel distillery covers their maple charcoal ricks with old blankets and lets the whiskey drip through them first to even out the distribution over the charcoal beneath), leather (are those old blankets horse blankets?).
Finish: short to medium, without new flavor notes but a whiff of heat midway through (someone just poked the wood fire).
Tobacco pairing (since I always light a pipe after my first sips): I used Butera's Kingfisher for the job - a densely-pressed flake that is double-cut and crumbles easily. It has a very pronounced time-sequenced lineup of flavors - first there's the honest, earthy, working man's taste of burley, followed by a long period of naturally sweet aged Virginias, and finally the dark fig/stewed fruit richness of perique. In this case the Dickel appeared to leach out the intensity of the burley and also suppressed the late complex fruitiness of the perique, bringing out the straightforward tobacco taste of the Virginias in the blend. This whiskey would go well with a straight dark-stoved Virginia (McClelland's Dark Star or S. Gawith's Full Virginia Flake) or perhaps a good medium dark cigar.
Pants rating: 2 pairs of overalls (Oshkosh, b'gosh)
General impression: "...Come on in, set a spell - cracker barrel's over here by the Franklin stove....Here, try some o' this..."