If you mention Tennessee and Whiskey, it will probably be inferred that you mean Jack Daniel’s. However, there are other distilleries, one only a few miles from Lynchburg’s iconic brand. Lynchburg and the Jack Daniel Distillery aren’t exactly big city, but another distillery who spells their product name “Whisky”, can be found only a few miles away. Tucked away in a beautiful pastoral setting, George Dickel Distillery is near Tullahoma, but if you look up their address and put in the city of Tullahoma, your GPS may not find the street address. A quick call to the distillery and we discovered that, according to the receptionist, “Most GPSes prefer you use the town of Normandy. We are right on the border.” Sure enough, inserting Normandy to our GPS route guidance took us right to the visitor center parking lot. Like the Jack Daniel’s basic tour, the Dickel Distillery tour is complementary, only cost is for samples for those who’d like a taste.
According to the distillery’s web page here, George A. Dickel opened his distillery in 1878. In true Scottish tradition, he spelled whisky without the “e”. His “secret” to making a smooth tasting whisky is distilling only in the cooler winter months. Today, the whisky is chilled before filtering through the charcoal. Before I go any further with this post, I must admit that I am not much of a fan of liquor. I have an occasional beer, margarita or other mixed drink but I generally don’t care much for the brown liquors.
At our family reunion, one of my family members mentioned going to the Dickel Distillery, sampling the product and being impressed with its smoothness. Always looking for interesting places to visit, I gathered up some family members and off we went to find Normandy. The tour was very similar to the Jack Daniel tour, obviously a similar process from the maple ricks made into charcoal to the aging process. Barrels only used once and then sold, often to European distilleries where they are reused. The gallery of images below features some of the sights around the property. This post is less about the tour and more about the rural setting. There must be something special about the water in this part of Tennessee as distillers apparently think it’s the basis of a quality spirit. When the tour was over, we were given the opportunity to sample different varieties of their premium whisky. Given that it cost the same, $5 USD per sample, we chose their best. Their premium 17-year product is clearly top-shelf. It is the smoothest “sipping whisky” I’ve ever tasted. If I were to start drinking a brown liquor, this would be the product I’d choose. I know this sounds like a commercial, but I have got to say I liked what I tasted far better than the well-known competition. Their product is limited distribution, not available everywhere. I can’t buy it in either Fargo, North Dakota or Buckeye, Arizona. I guess I’ll have to head to Tennessee the next time I want to taste a true sipping whisky. Click on an image in the gallery below to enlarge it and to scroll through the selection.