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My Handcrafted Opinions on Whiskies, Distilleries and Other Related Stuff

George Dickel, Tennessee, USA

I was lucky to spend my birthday in 2013 visiting the two major distilleries in Tennessee and this was the first one. The thing that immediately struck me about George Dickel was the fantastic setting… perhaps only rivaled by Woodford Reserve for major US distilleries I have seen. The site is also the only distillery that is also a US Post Office… so another first for me and another useless piece of trivia. This site was actually established in 1958 long after the original Mr Dickel and his distillery had perished but all the recipes and techniques had been preserved and are still used today. The original site was a short way up the road and we snapped a picture of the entrance as we drove away later on. The tour I took was free (they offer a tasting tour as well but that was later in the day) and started with a short eight minute DVD in the very nice visitor’s center. Being the “other distillery” in Tennessee has clearly influenced their tour and messaging. When describing their distillery the words “unique in Tennessee” were used a lot which was interesting and basically shorthand for “not like Jack Daniel’s” and included the ‘facts’ that they burned all their charcoal on site, that they double distilled their spirit (which may not be technically accurate as I asked when I toured JD and they said they did double distill) and they chill the whisky before charcoal mellowing. This is said to be because Mr. Dickel considered the whisky to taste better in the winter than the summer. You may also note I spell it as whisky ie no “e”.  This again is a “unique in Tennessee” tradition said to be started by Mr. Dickel who declared (a southern gent always declares in my mind) that his whisky was as good as the finest scotch and so adopted their spelling. I bought two bottles at the distillery shop afterwards, the No 12 and the Barrel Reserve. I also learned that the different expressions are all the same grain recipe (84% corn, 8% rye and 8% malt), the only difference between No 8, No 12 and Barrel Reserve is aging. No 8 is 5 -7 years old, No 12 is 8 – 10 years old and Barrel Reserve is 12 – 14 years old. The Dickel Rye is actually made in Indiana and contains 95% rye (if you are interested). You are? Good. So was I.

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The London Distillery Company, London, England (Ver 1)

The London Distillery Company, London, England (Ver 1)

I have previously visited a closed distillery (Stitzel Weller in Kentucky, see link below) so why not vsiit one that is not even built yet?  That is what is I did in September 2012 when I visited the fledgling London Distillery Company and was given a personal tour of the former dairy cold room, located in Battersea, that will be home to the first artisinal whisky distillery in the UK.   As I have mentioned recently in my blog entry Living The Dream, the founder, Darren Rook, raised the capital for this project via an internet 'crowd funding' website in 2012.  It turns out this is not only the first London distillery in over 100 years and the UK's first craft distillery but also one of the first 200 or so companies funded in this way.  I am running out of words like "cool" and "exciting" to use about this project and I am really happy to be personally associated in a small way with it, through my own, very minor, investment.  The building work has commenced and when I return after Christmas they expect to be in production of both whisky and gin (this is London afterall) and offering "proper" tours, which I can't wait for.  I have a tour booked for December 28th.... and will update this entry after that.  As they were not operational there were no samples to try at the end of the tour, however Darren did take me to the Scotch Malt Whisky Society in London along with the distiller Andrew and intern Marco for a dram or two to make up for that.  Just over 3 years from now, November 2015, we will be tasting their whisky for the first time. 

 

http://www.somanywhiskies.com/distilleries/item/332-stitzel-weller-kentucky-usa

 

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