Reviews

Review: Michter’s 10-Year-Old Rye Whiskey (2019)

Photo courtesy of Blaine Strawn

This 2019 bottling of Michter’s 10-year-old rye whiskey marks the first release by the distillery’s new Master Distiller Dan McKee. The rye whiskey is one of Michter’s most anticipated bottlings, which generally gets released once a year. It certainly holds a place as one of my favorite rye whiskies.

Bottled at 46.4% ABV, or 92.8 proof, my sample bottle comes from barrel 19F965. Michter’s doesn’t disclose their mash bills, but press materials mention “a good amount of corn and malted barley” in addition to rye, which is at least 51%.

The nose includes rich aromas of maple syrup and buttered rye toast as well as a hearty dose of baking spices. On entry, the whiskey appears a little soft on spice. Instead, sweet brown sugar and vanilla coat the palate, allowing those rye notes and baking spices found on the nose to slowly blossom. In terms of spice, think pumpkin pie spice instead of an over-the-top cinnamon candy. Some candied pecan and burnt orange peel notes peak through as well. Heading into the finish, slightly astringent oak grips the palate. Not surprisingly, the medium length finish is sweet, citrusy, and a bit dry.

Michter’s 10-year-old rye never disappoints. The low barrel entry proof helps create a rich spirit, and this whiskey certainly tastes older than its age. In my opinion, it is these two traits that help Michter’s stand out. The suggested retail pricing is $160 for this whiskey, and I think it delivers big yet refined flavors for the asking price. Highly recommended. 9/10

Michters.com

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

Review: Maker’s Mark Private Select (The Original Bourbon Club)

Just like the bourbon industry, The Original Bourbon Club in the New Orleans area has been rapidly expanding. Not too long ago, it was called the Mandeville Bourbon Club. Mandeville’s about 25 minutes away from New Orleans. Now, the bourbon-oriented social club has grown into different chapters in southeast Louisiana as well as Texas.

One great thing about this bourbon club is the constant stream of single barrels it offers its members. Most recently, The Original Bourbon Club took part in the Maker’s Mark Private Select program. They were kind enough to share a bottle with me.

If you’re not familiar with Maker’s Mark Private Select, read up on it here. This particular selection features the following staves:

  • 3 Baked American Pure 2
  • 3 Seared French Cuvée
  • 2 Maker’s 46
  • 2 Toasted French Spice

After a short secondary maturation with this stave selection, the bourbon was bottled at barrel proof, or 109 proof (54.5% ABV) in this case.

The robust nose features hints of caramel corn, maple syrup, cinnamon, and vanilla. Orange peel adds a bit of vibrancy. The palate closely follows the nose with initial waves of caramelized sugar, burnt orange peel, and vanilla. A moderate dusting of baking spices ramp up the mid-palate just as sweet and slightly astringent oak develops. The finish is medium-long, with lingering hints of orange Starburst, oak spice, and toffee.

The folks at The Original Bourbon Club have something really nice on their hands with this bottling. This Maker’s Mark Private Select is rich and balanced. Those sweet notes are complemented by citrus and spice. It still has the Maker’s DNA, but the flavor spectrum here is deliciously widened.

This bottling is available to club members only. All the more reason to join the club. Highly recommended. 9/10

Thanks to The Original Bourbon Club for the sample. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Review: Four Gate Batch 1

Photo courtesy of Four Gate Whiskey Company

As a whiskey blogger, I’m thrilled to see “one of us” create a whiskey. Bill Straub from ModernThirst.com, together with Bob D’Antoni, have come together to create the Four Gate Whiskey Company. Straub, the Chief Blending Officer, has a great palate and, based on his whiskey reviews, can sometimes be tough to please. I say that with respect. That trait serves him well in his role at Four Gate.

Every batch of Four Gate is to be barrel finished, barrel proof, and unique. The first batch, “The Kelvin Collaboration,” is a 5- to 11-year-old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey finished in ex-sherry rum casks bottled at 61.7% ABV. The bourbon came from a mash bill of 74% corn, 18% rye, and 8% malted barley. “The Kelvin Collaboration” yielded 1,732 bottles released in Kentucky and Tennessee at a suggested price of $199.99.

The nose features deep notes of red fruit, dark caramel, honey roasted nuts, and a sprinkling of spice. Taste-wise, bold dried fruit notes explode on the palate alongside hints of brown sugar and banana pudding. There’s a base of bourbon (caramel, vanilla, and rye grain) underneath it all. Red wine and tannins pave the way for a long, fruity, and slightly dry finish.

This first batch of Four Gate whiskey is quite tasty. It might indicate a mantra for the brand: bold barrel-finishing. The use of sherry rum casks for the finishing of the first batch dominates the base bourbon, but complements it nonetheless. I wouldn’t call what Four Gate is doing traditional, but it’s interesting and more importantly, it’s delicious. Really, that’s all that counts. 8.5/10

Fourgatewhiskey.com

Thanks to Four Gate Whiskey Company for the sample. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.