When you talk to passionate bourbon drinkers today, most of them are looking for the rich, sweet, boldly flavored, high-proof editions that seem to have completely evaporated from today's market. Part of the reason the Van Winkle expressions (and the Weller bourbons by default) became so beloved, besides the pull of pop culture, has to do with their sweeter profile due to the lack of rye grain in the mash bill as a balance. While not technically categorized as bourbon (Dickel goes by Tennessee whiskey even though it qualifies as such), the distillery's high corn, low rye mash of 84% corn, 8% rye and 8% malted barley results in a whiskey brimming with sweetness, with less of the peppery and herbaceous elements. The only thing that's ever kept Dickel from becoming the next big thing in the American whiskey scene is the low proof, but that's where the company's single barrel program comes in: each K&L selected single cask of Dickel comes with a 9 year age statement and 51.5% ABV, dialing up the sweetness and sending serious bourbon fans into a frenzy. Barrel #1003 is a perfect example of everything today's modern bourbon drinker goes gaga for: sweet vanilla and caramel corn on the entry bolstered by baking spices and heavily charred oak, with the boldness of the high proof on the mid-palate to electrify the taste buds. The finish has a bit of a burnt banana note, but it's quickly washed over with more crème brûlée and oak sweetness. An absolutely bangin' bottle of whiskey!
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