December 2015 saw the last release of Michter’s 10-year-old single barrel bourbon (read my review of that here). I enjoyed it so much I named it one of my favorite whiskies of 2015. Now, just five months later, Michter’s announced the next release of their 10-year-old bourbon. That’s a pretty quick turnaround, and a welcome one, especially for whiskey enthusiasts who weren’t able to pick up a bottle. These tend not to stick around on shelves.
“I love our 10 Year Bourbon and wish we could sell it year-round, but we just don’t have enough,” said Master Distiller Willie Pratt of the 2016 release.
Michter’s 10-year bourbon is part of their Limited Production line, which also features a 10-year-old rye whiskey and a 20-year-old bourbon. All are single barrel releases. The 10-year bourbon is bottled at 94.4 proof and is available for $120.
This particular barrel of Michter’s 10-year-old bourbon has a rich, sweet nose. Sweet corn pudding starts things off. Dive in deeper and find some caramel, tobacco and some vanilla bean. There’s some subtle cinnamon and clove upon entry, developing into a vanilla creme brûlée, slightly burnt caramel, almonds and dried orange peel. That cinnamon spice from earlier pops back up a little stronger than it did on the entry. Some oak tannins are present, but don’t leave too much of a drying effect until the longish finish, where a blast of vanilla coats the mouth, disappearing slowly and leaving behind a slightly dry oak.
How does it compare to the 2015 release?
That’s a question I’ve been asked by several folks since posting a “head-to-head” picture on my Instagram account. (Cheap plug – follow @adventures_in_whiskey on Instagram.) Back to the point. This is less a question of how this whiskey compares year to year. More accurately it’s a barrel versus barrel comparison, as both are single barrel releases.
My 2016 bottle doesn’t have as much vanilla upfront on the nose as the 2015 bottle. It develops a little later with a little airtime. It’s also a bit more complex, especially with that nice tobacco note. The 2016 release also carries a more corn-based aroma. The palate and finish has more oak and vanilla, and generally less spicy than the 2015, which carried big cinnamon notes.
Both are fantastic bourbons with luscious, elegant and vibrant profiles. Either one easily deserves a place in your whiskey shelf. Love ’em or hate ’em, the folks at Michter’s release quality whiskey and this 2016 10-year-old bourbon is no exception. Highly recommended.