Michter’s

Review: Michter’s 10-Year-Old Bourbon (Spring 2019)

Spring generally means the release of one of my favorite bourbons – Michter’s 10-year-old. This limited release 2019 bottling is the last under the supervision of Master Distiller Pamela Heilmann, who is now retired as of this post. I think Pamela Heilmann has overseen some fantastic releases over the last few years. Cheers to her!

As for the new team, Michter’s Distiller Dan McKee has been promoted to Master Distiller, and Distiller Manager Matt Bell is now Distiller. McKee cut his teeth at Jim Beam, eventually taking on the role as Distillery Supervisor at the Booker Noe Distillery. Bell worked at both Town Branch Distillery and Wild Turkey Distillery.

Onto the whiskey… my sample bottle comes from barrel #190634. It’s bottled at 47.2% ABV, or 94.4 proof. It undergoes Michter’s signature filtration prior to bottling. The suggested retail price is $130.

The nose features a nice mix of classic bourbon notes of caramel, vanilla, orange peel, and oak. Additionally, spiced apples and cigar box join the party. Taste-wise, more of the same: chewy dark caramel, red berries, and vanilla extract meet continuous waves of cinnamon, clove, and allspice. Aromatic oak and herbal notes arrive in the back palate and eventually into the finish, which is long and a bit dry. Lingering notes of oak spice, caramel, and slight barrel char remain.

Ten years is usually my sweet spot in terms of preference of age. If matured properly, the resultant bourbon can be beautifully balanced between both the spirit and barrel influence. This year’s release is certainly well balanced, rich, and complex. One of my favorite bottlings of the last couple of years. 9/10

Michters.com

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

Review: Michter’s Barrel Strength Rye Whiskey (2019)

One thing Michter’s does well is produce a rich whiskey. Their April 2019 release of barrel strength rye whiskey is no exception. I consider it one of the brand’s trademark characteristics.

Michter’s Master of Maturation Andrea Wilson may have an explanation for that. “The increased corn and malted barley used in the rye recipe really allows the barrel to transform the product into a super smooth, rich, and complex rye whiskey with an elegance on the palate.”

Another factor could be the low barrel entry proof Michter’s employs. Straight whiskey requires barrel entry proof no higher than 125 proof, or 62.5% ABV. Michter’s whiskey goes into the barrel at a much lower 103 proof.

The single barrel whiskies in this release have an average bottling proof of 110.8. My sample bottle, 19C472, is right under that at 109.8 proof. It’s where I’d typically add a splash of water, but not here. This whiskey is fantastic right out of the bottle.

The nose features hints of brown sugar, maple syrup, rye toast, vanilla, and some oak. On the palate, things aren’t as sweet as the nose suggests. Sure, the rich brown sugar is there, but it’s accompanied by orange peel, cardamom, bitter herbs, and rye spice. That last one ramps up in intensity to a satisfying but not overwhelming level. The finish features spiced cocoa, caramel, and tobacco.

Single barrels are different by nature. So while yours may vary a little, the big picture in terms of flavor profile remains constant barrel to barrel. The good news is Michter’s barrel strength rye whiskey is an example of a not-too-spicy rye whiskey with slightly concentrated flavors. It’s the right flavor delivered at the right proof. It’s worth every penny of the suggested retail price of $75. What boggles my mind is why this bold expression isn’t as popular as some of Michter’s older age-stated whiskies. It’s cheaper by a large fraction, but can still be somewhat easily found. I guess that just means there is more for the rest of us. Highly recommended. 8.5/10

michters.com

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

Review: Michter’s US*1 Toasted Barrel Finish Bourbon (2018)

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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

michters.com

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

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