Three years can seemingly fly by, especially as we get older. Other times, that same amount of time can seem like an eternity. That second description is certainly the case with Michter’s US*1 Toasted Barrel Finish bourbon, which hasn’t been released since 2015.
Why the long wait? The answer is simple: Michter’s is experiencing whiskey shortages. That’s according to Michter’s President Joe Magliocco, who also said the distillery doesn’t make enough whiskey to meet demand. Though they aren’t by any means a small craft distillery, Michter’s is a much smaller operation than a giant like Jim Beam. Their limited releases aren’t too easy to find on shelves.
When Toasted Barrel Finish bourbon was last released in 2015, I didn’t get around to tasting it. Locally, the only place that had any bottles left charged an arm and a leg. I don’t buy into price gouging. Fast forward three years, a package containing a bottle of the 2018 release showed up at my door. Joy!
For this expression, Michter’s aged its fully-matured bourbon in a second barrel that was toasted but not charred. The whisky is bottled at 91.4 proof, or 45.7% abv. Suggested retail price for a bottle is $60.
I absolutely love the nose here. It has hints of smores, ground cinnamon & nutmeg, roasted hazelnuts and vanilla. The palate is equally inviting. On entry, rich caramel is the initial note, followed quickly by an explosion of baking spices and espresso. Waves of creamy vanilla and some mint keep the whiskey from getting too spicy. Oak spice and dark chocolate develop on the back palate. The finish is long, with lingering notes of cola and nutmeg.
This release was well worth the long wait. That toasted barrel finish accentuates those spice notes, imparts slightly darker and more complex notes to their standard bourbon. My only gripe? I would have liked to have seen a barrel proof version of this. Michter’s did it with their Toasted Barrel Finish rye whiskey. Why not here? But focusing on what we have in the bottle, I have to say it’s a beautiful, rich bourbon. This one’s an easy recommendation! 8.5/10
Thanks to Michter’s for the sample. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
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