Born 40 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, George A. Dickel had, by 1867, established himself as a successful Nashville merchant. That year, he visited Tullahoma with his wife, Augusta. Just three years later, Cascade Hollow became home to the Dickel Distillery. George A. Dickel discovered that whisky made during the winter was smoother than whisky made in the summer. So, George Dickel is the only Tennessee whisky to chill the whisky before it goes into the charcoal mellow-ing vats. This filters out the oils and fatty acids inherent in most whisky products. The creator of the finest sippin’ whisky in the United States declared his whisky was the equal of the finest scotch. Consequently, in keeping with the Scotch whisky tradition, he dropped the “e” in “whiskey.” As business thrived, tragedy struck: in 1888, George Dickel fell from a horse, sustaining traumatic injuries that ultimately lead to his passing in 1894. By that time, according to “The Book of Classic American Whiskeys,” his company was Tennessee’s “oldest surviving business to have operated continuously under the same name.”
Augusta Dickel and her family, the Schwabs, managed the business successfully and, by 1904, the distillery was Tennessee’s largest. Although Prohibition became federal law in 1919, Tennessee Prohibition began nine years earlier when distillers were given one year to cease operations. The George Dickel Distillery closed and for nearly four decades, the world would go without George Dickel Tennessee Whisky.
In 1958, Master Distiller Ralph Dupps rebuilt the George Dickel Distillery. To ensure the whisky’s authenticity, Dupps obtained George Dickel’s original manuscripts detailing the unique recipe and process for making George Dickel Tennessee Whisky. “I’m proud to say that more and more discriminating drinkers are discovering Dickel’s superior qualities in their search for the finest whisky,” said Dupps, who ensured that George Dickel No. 12 and No. 8 are crafted with the same care that has made George Dickel Tennessee Whisky a symbol of quality for over 130 years. Today, Master Distiller John Lunn runs the distillery, carrying on a tradition set forth by George Dickel and reaffirmed by Ralph Dupps. Distillery tours are offered Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Call 931-857-4110 for more information.