Author: Bobby

Hello. My name's Bobby, and I'm no whiskey expert. I'm here to share my thoughts as a novice whiskey enthusiast. So, when I try new whiskies (mostly bourbons), I'll tell you about them here.

Review: Michter’s 10-Year-Old Bourbon (April 2018 release)

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Whiskey is such a subjective thing.  While I may really enjoy something, you may not.  Or vice versa.  Neither person is right or wrong, mind you.

I say that because I get very split opinions on Michter’s 10. Some people tell me they absolutely love the bourbon. Others tell me recent releases of Michter’s 10-year-old bourbons aren’t good.  “They don’t hold a candle to older bottlings” is another one I hear.    My answer is usually the same – I haven’t tasted older bottlings, and I happen to like the current releases.  I certainly respect everyone’s opinions.  After all, this blog is filled with my opinions. With so many whiskey bloggers out there, it’s important to find a reviewer who tends to have similar tastes as you.

With that said…

This month marks the latest bottling of Michter’s 10-year-old single barrel bourbon.  Both Master Distiller Pamela Heilmann AND Michter’s Master of Maturation Andrea Wilson have approved the barrels for release.  The two are choosing barrels based on a certain taste profile, though they have to be at least 10 years old.  On a recent episode of WhiskyCast, Heilmann stated the barrels chosen were actually 12 years old.

My sample came from barrel 18B202.  Michter’s 10-year-old bourbon is bottled at 94.4 proof and is available for $120.

The nose is a touch muted at first, but opens up after a few minutes in the glass.  Patience certainly pays off.  There are hints of toffee, burnt orange peel, cinnamon sticks and allspice.  On the palate, nougat, mulling spices and candied fruits appear first.  Waves of vanilla begin to arrive mid-palate, followed by more cinnamon-dominated spices and slightly astringent toasted oak.  One odd thing… the whiskey does feel a touch thin on the mid-palate.  I usually find Michter’s releases to have a rich mouthfeel.  The medium-length finish is spicy and dry.

Overall, the April 2018 release of Michter’s 10-year-old bourbon is quite enjoyable and comes with a high recommendation.  The problem is finding it close to retail pricing, as a lot of retailers seem to raise their prices for this bourbon.  If you do happen across one close to the suggested $120 price, pull the trigger and buy one.  You won’t regret it. 8.5/10

Michters.com

Thanks to Michter’s for the sample.  As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Review: High West Bourye Whiskey 2018

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This year’s High West Distillery’s release of Bourye is marvelous!

It’s so good I just knew it had to be the first statement for this post.  Bourye is an annual limited edition bourbon and rye whiskey blended by the Utah-based distillery.  Blending is something the company does really well.  They are also adept at transparency.  The component whiskies for the 2018 release come from MGP in Indiana.  Here’s the breakdown:

  • 12-year-old straight bourbon (75% corn, 21% rye, 4% malted barley)
  • 11-year-old straight bourbon (75% corn, 21% rye, 4% malted barley)
  • 11-year-old straight bourbon (60% corn, 36% rye, 4% malted barley)
  • 14-year-old straight rye whiskey (95% rye, 5% malted barley)
  • 13-year-old straight rye whiskey (95% rye, 5% malted barley)

While the exact percentage of each whiskey remains undisclosed, the company says this bottling is very similar in the age and taste profile of the very first release.  Bourye is bottled at 92 proof and available for $79.99.

The nose here is ripe with honey, baking spices, dark caramel, and hints of oak.  Those aromas carry over to the palate.  Rich, sweet and spicy are the themes here.  Spiced honey and slightly burnt caramel kick things off.  Those rye spice notes ramp up quickly, complementing the whiskey’s richness.  A slight undercurrent of candied orange peel and vanilla run throughout.  Elegant oak develops into the long, dry finish.

I like this a little better than last year’s release, which wasn’t too shabby.  I gave that release a 9 out of 10, and I think I’ll give this one the same score.  Don’t get too caught up in the numbers.  Just know the 2018 release of Bourye is well worth a look.  9/10

Highwest.com

Thanks to High West for the sample.  As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

7,000,000 Barrels and Counting: Buffalo Trace Has Its Eye on the Future

On April 11, 2018, Buffalo Trace Distillery filled its seven millionth barrel since Prohibition. While that’s certainly a big milestone, the distillery isn’t resting on its laurels. Business is definitely booming, and sales are expected to go up. Distillery president and CEO Mark Brown told us Buffalo Trace has made whiskey projections through 2047. A few spirits writers were invited to partake in the celebration and were given a sneak peak at current expansions.

We began the trip with a commemoration of Warehouse AA (yes, that’s its actual name), the first rickhouse built on the distillery’s new farm.  This 68,800 barrel capacity warehouse is already almost full.  In fact, the photo below was taken from one of the top floors. You can see the barrels on the floor below.  The second warehouse, BB, is almost complete while the third, Warehouse CC, was in early stages of construction.  Brown told us that 30 warehouses total are to be constructed on the new land over the next decade. The new warehouses have temperature and humidity monitoring, which allows the distillery to fingerprint what each barrel is exposed to.  They are also heated with warm water-filled pipes.

While the group tasted some experimental whiskies, including a bourbon matured in Mongolian Oak, we talked more about the distillery’s expansion.  Buffalo Trace currently has a capacity of roughly 220,000 barrels a year, according to Master Distiller Harlen Wheatley. The expansion process is obviously multi-tiered.  First, new gas boilers and cookers are to be installed.  The bottling operation is moving to another part of the distillery, leaving room to add four fermenters, which will raise their capacity to about 240,000 barrels per year.

In addition, a duplicate still will be added. By the way, I believe Buffalo Trace’s beer still is currently the largest in the industry at 84 inches.  At that point, with 12 fermenters in place, their barrel capacity moves up to 440,000. They’re not done yet. Adding an additional eight fermenters will move the needle further to around the 550,000 number.

And this is all expected to be completed by 2022.

Insane.

It was eye-opening to actually see the entire operation in person. I know Buffalo Trace is cranking out a lot of whiskey, but DAMN…this distillery is really cranking out a lot of whiskey!  

We also walked around what is to very soon become the sensory lab and company archives. All very cool.  Needless to say, the bottle archive room (pictured above) left me in awe.

One of the biggest surprises of the trip involves Sazerac’s partnership with The Last Drop Distillers, a company specializing in rare, ultra-aged spirits. Inside a warehouse at Buffalo Trace is the new cold storage Warehouse P. This room is kept at a constant 45 degrees and has a capacity of 400 barrels. The aim here is to slow down the maturation process, allowing barrels to potentially reach the ripe old age of 50 years while reducing angel’s share and still remaining palatable and not over oaked. The barrel pictured below was originally filled on 4/22/1993, then topped off on 1/21/2013 with a barrel that shared the original’s fill date. New barrels containing different types of whiskey are also being stored in this room.

Equally impressive are all the experiments going on.  Look at Warehouse X for example.  They are currently studying how temperature affects maturation.  We not only got to look around at all five chambers of that warehouse, we got to taste whiskey from each.

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Another tasting was stuff they’ve been tinkering with, including a 13-year-old wheat whiskey, an 11-year-old bourbon featuring amaranth in its mashbill, and the upcoming “Craft Your Own Perfect Bourbon” release (we tasted at cask strength, and it was delicious).  There were also bourbons aged in different oaks, including Canadian, French, and the aforementioned Mongolian oak.  Remember, bourbon can be matured in any new, charred oak container – the rules don’t specifically say American white oak.  I’m sure they have a million other experiments they’re keeping under wraps.

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The day ended with the ceremonial rolling of the seven millionth barrel into Warehouse V by beloved third-generation distillery employee Freddie Johnson, with a little help from his grandson.  Freddie and his late father Jimmy rolled the six millionth barrel into the warehouse a decade ago. A crowd of employees and special guests attended the festivities.  I gotta say – it was a real treat to watch this.

So what’s to become of barrel number 6,000,000?  The distillery plans to bottle it for charity. Details to follow.

Warning: whiskey geek moment. Eagle-eyed readers may see a familiar name at the center of the barrel. Yep… that would be my mark. Everyone present at the commemoration of Warehouse AA also signed a barrel. Here’s hoping I can get my hands on a bottle from both barrels.

 

Needless to say, the entire experience was amazing. Many thanks to Buffalo Trace for inviting me along to celebrate. Here’s to the next millionth barrel, which will be here much sooner than later.

Buffalo Trace paid for the entire trip. All thoughts and opinions are my own.