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George Dickel No. 12 vs Maker’s Mark: Which Wins?

Discover the differences between George Dickel No. 12 vs Maker’s Mark in head to head comparison and decide which Bourbon is better for You!

George Dickel No. 12

george-dickel-12
NoseCorn, vanilla, banana, ethanol
PalateBrown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, pie crust
FinishCaramel, oak spice, toasted oak
Alcohol content90 proof (45% ABV)
How to drinkAdd water, rocks
Similar toJack Daniel’s, George Dickel 8

George Dickel is not a bourbon but a Tennessee Whiskey as it was filtered through charcoal before bottling making it similar to the Jack No. 7; just that better in every way.

The No. 12 smells sweet, with a high corn note up-front, followed by fried banana and just a bit of ethanol coming behind.

On the palate this whiskey is warm up-front but nothing terrible as it makes way for a sweet taste, strong in vanilla and oak spice notes.

The finish is long, fairly warm, with caramel a bitter note of oak spice and toasted oak.

This whiskey is moderately warm but it does not taste like rocket fuel, is the kind of warmth that sits well as George Dickel is easy to drink.

This is a nice, sweet pour, full of character, well rounded, with a pleasant vanilla note that balances out the barrel spice.

There is also a bit of Flinstones Vitamins flavor in this whiskey which I do not consider a deal-breaker, particularly on a whiskey at this price.

George Dickel offers solid value for the money making a good option when drinking on a budget and for those who like to enjoy a kick out of their drinks.

There are a few facts worth knowing about the George Dickel 12:

  • George Dickel uses a mash bill comprised of 84% corn, 8% rye, 8% barley.
  • George Dickel is a whiskey with no age statement, the number 12 does not refer to the years of aging. It is typically aged for 5 years.
  • Gold medal at the 2010 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
  • This brand is currently owned by Diageo, a British spirits giant who owns Johnnie Walker, Don Julio Tequila, Casamigos, among a zillion other brands.

Maker’s Mark

makers-mark
NoseCaramel, vanilla, fruity notes
PalateSweet, nutty, baking spice, bread-like flavor
FinishHoneyed, smooth and a bit of spice
Alcohol content90 proof (45% ABV)
How to drinkAdd water, rocks
Similar toBulleit Bourbon, Jim Beam, Four Roses

Maker’s Mark (Best Bourbon) is a bourbon but one of the few carrying wheat on the mash as secondary grain behind instead of rye.

This is the type of bourbon known as “wheated” and tends to be smoother and sweeter than the classic bourbon.

Other wheated bourbons in the market are Pappy Van Winkle, Weller, Larceny and Old Elk.

The nose has a nail polish note that fades into vanilla and cherry as you let it develop in the glass.

On the palate Maker’s Mark delivers vanilla, caramel, cherry and honey providing a pleasant mouthfeel.

The finish has a moderate length, is sweet with very little warmth and just a dash of black pepper.

Adding a drop of water makes it taste like a Tootsie Pop, while tuning down the spicy note making it easier to sip.

Maker’s Mark (Substitutes) is a well-rounded and enjoyable bourbon without any bold flavors. Nothing stands-out but there are no off-putting notes as it is nicely balanced, yet with enough body.

It makes a good entry-level bottle to those new to bourbon or liquors in general or a nice “everyday whisky” for those looking for a non-challenging sipper.

I’m not fond of using wheated bourbons as mixers as I feel they lack the punch to deliver tasty cocktails making me prefer a classic rye whiskey for an Old Fashioned.

There are few facts about Maker’s Mark worth knowing:

  • Maker’s Mark is made from 70% corn, 16% red wheat, and 14% malted barley. 
  • While most whiskeys age for a set amount of time, Maker’s is bottled when the tasters call it to be ready; that is between 6 and 7 years.
  • This one of the few whiskey brands in the United States that uses “whisky” instead of “whiskey” in its name due to the founders Scottish heritage.
  • Maker’s bottles stand out from the rest due to the red wax seal that is still made by hand nowadays.
  • Maker’s Mark is owned by Beam Suntory, a Japanese drinks giant who also holds Jim Beam, although they are crafted at different distilleries.

Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

WhiskeyPrice
George Dickel 12$20
Maker’s Mark$23

George Dickel 12 vs Maker’s Mark: Which is better?

Maker’s Mark is an easier sip

WhiskeyGeorge DickelMaker’s Mark
Nose
Body
Palate
Finish
Value
  • Maker’s Mark makes an easier sipper than the somewhat warm George Dickel.
  • Maker’s Mark is quite easy to drink, smooth, sweet, while the wheat in the content provides a nice comforting taste.
  • But I would not dismiss the George Dickel as it makes a good option for those like me who enjoy a bit of warmth in their drinks.
  • It also makes a great mixer as that warmth will provide a nice kick to your homemade cocktail.

Neither George Dickel nor Maker’s Mark use “E” in Whiskey

Whiskey is spelled with a “E” in the United States but neither George Dickel nor Maker’s Mark use it as they are labeled as “Whisky”.

George Dickel was a german immigrant who decided to spell it as the Scots do as he was convinced his whiskies where just as good.

Maker’s Mark was created by Bill Samuels who was of Scottish heritage and decided to make the Maker’s look Scottish.

George Dickel is a Tennesse Whiskey and Maker’s Mark a Bourbon

Both whiskeys require the same corn percentage in the mashbill (at least 51%) and must be aged in new charred oak barrels.

The main difference is that Tennessee whiskey must go through a charcoal filtering process, which mellows the whiskey’s character. For that reason, bourbon is often but not always bolder and has a more robust flavor.

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