Michter’s Barrel Strength Rye Whiskey (2016) Review

Michters Barrel Strength Rye 2016

Michter’s Distillery has released a year’s worth of limited production whiskies, and it’s only May.  So far, 2016 has seen both their limited production 10-year-old rye whiskey and 10-year-old bourbon hit shelves.  Now, add another limited production whiskey to the list, as we’re seeing the second release of their robust barrel strength rye whiskey.  The first bottling came last spring, and it was fantastic.  You can read my review here.

The standard rye expression from Michter’s is bottled at 84.8 proof.  I think it is tasty, but lacks some “oomph”.  That was all corrected with their barrel strength rye.  This single barrel rye whiskey ranges in proof from 110.2 to 114.8 proof.  My sample bottle, from barrel 16D432, comes in at 111.8 proof.  Retail for Michter’s Barrel Strength Rye Whiskey is $75.

Michter’s barrel entry proof is 103 proof, which is lower than a majority of the big producers.  Why does the mean for the flavor of the whiskey?  Bourbon historian Michael Veach explains barrel entry proof at length in a great article on his website.

Rich and mouthwatering is a good description for the nose.  Concentrated aromas of dark brown sugar, allspice, vanilla frosting, and creamy caramel hit your nose all at once.  In a strange way, it sort of reminds me of the nose from a 1980 bottling of Wild Turkey 101 I had a few months back.  That sort of makes sense, as high-rye mashbilled Wild Turkey’s barrel entry proof back then was pretty low.  Michter’s Barrel Strength Rye is full-bodied, coating your tongue in a melange of bold flavors.  What appeared on the nose is also found on the palate.  Think caramelized dark brown sugar and creamy butter on the entry.  Allspice, rye spice, cinnamon stick, and some vanilla extract soon develop mid-palate, as does a touch of oak and black cherry.  This almost comes across as a high-rye bourbon rather than a rye whiskey.  The rich, dark brown sugar/caramel/vanilla/spice flavor combination lacks the overt sharpness of most rye whiskies.  The rye grain shows up in the modest finish, which is a bit dry.

I find that this 2016 release is slightly more enjoyable than the 2015 release, which was a standout rye.  This year’s edition is dangerously drinkable.  No, seriously.  Michter’s Barrel Strength rye whiskey is one you will fall in love with instantly.  Spoil yourself and pick up a bottle.

9/10
(Note: A review sample was provided by Michter’s.)
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