July 18, 2013

Review: George Dickel Rye - The Double Mellow-ed Beast


One of the most common comments we've been hearing is that while people love to learn about vintage malts from the seventies and Kentucky bourbon that is nearly impossible to find, you'd also like to get reviews on some slightly more attainable options. So in an effort to be less highfalutin and offer up the goods on some booze that's a great value, we found a delicious rye for this week's review.


Dickle Rye is available at Beacon Wines priced at $35.99 for a LITER!  That's equivalent to under $25 for a standard bottle.  Sure there's room in life for the occasional two hundred dollar of hooch, but wouldn't it be nice to find a Tuesday night booze?  Something you could drain with a few of your less favorite friends in a few hours and not cry over?  

So what do we look for in an affordable bottle of rye?  Well rye is supposed to be spicy, but we want the spiciness to be balanced with mellow-ness and drinkability.  George Dickel, the original founder of the distillery in 1867, invented a two-phase "mellow-ing" process that includes chilling and charcoal filtration.  So proud was George of the result that he declared his hooch as smooth as scotch whisky and dropped the 'e' from his spelling of the word, hence "George Dickel Rye Whisky".  A bold move my friend, but can it stand up to his claims?

Tasting Notes

This rye is perfect for cocktails or (if it's THAT kind of night) shots or whiskey & cokes.  But we decided to try it neat for a fair review and to see if it holds water on its own.  

Nose:  (four drops of water per ounce) - Like we'd hope for and expect, there is a ton of spice in the nose.  We get a lot of anise/black licorice, cloves, and cinnamon stick.  There's also a pleasant farm quality here like wet grass and hay.  

Body:  There's definitely a burn here, but it's still quite drinkable.  There's some sweet molasses / honey going on surrounded by apricot / peach fruit.  It's not tremendously complex, but there are some nice flavors here and it's definitely got the mellow-ness as advertised.  

Finish:  A little throaty burn on the finish, followed by sweet flavors in the mouth and warmth in the chest.  


This bottle is a no-brainer to have around for cocktails or a neat shot with a chaser.  It's a great drinking man's rye.  Think about bumping Jack Daniels or Jim Beam from your shopping next time around and giving Dickel a shot.  You may be pleased with how it turns out.  

Here are some classics that work very well with Dickel Rye.  Recipes are listed for reference with a few SmokyBeast twists thrown in, you can't go wrong with any of these.  And if you click the pictures, they will take you to the best cocktail bars in NYC that mix up our favorite versions...

Rye Manhattan
Manhattans at Pegu Club
3/4 oz sweet vermouth
2 1/2 oz rye whiskey
1 dash Angostura bitters

SB Tip:   Try adding a second bitters on top of Angostura like Regan's #6 Orange Bitters or Fee Brothers Cherry Bitters.

Rye Old Fashioned
Old-Fashioned at Little Branch
Muddle fruit in the glass (oranges and cherries are good, a little bit of pineapple or peach is great) with two teaspoons of simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water heated until the sugar dissolves) and two dashes of Angostura bitters
Add crushed ice above the muddled fruits
Pour Rye to taste (1.5 ounces for sweet, 2.5 for strong)

SB Tip:  Angostura is good for an Old-Fashioned, Fee Brothers Whiskey-Barrel Aged Bitters are GREAT!

Rinse the glass with absinthe or Herbsaint.
Sazerac at Raine's Law Room
Spill out.Add rye and simple syrup to taste.
Two dashes of Peychaud Bitters.

SB Tip:  A sazerac isn't right unless you cut a wide lemon twist (white meat only, no pulp) and twist it over a lit match until it sparkles!

We hope you have a double mellow day and enjoy!  /SmokyBeast

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