Michter’s US*1 Toasted Barrel Finish Rye Whiskey Review

Oh boy!  

Michter’s US*1 Barrel Strength Rye is one of my favorite uncut whiskies.  It’s not the most complex rye I’ve tasted from Michter’s.  Their 10-year-old rye holds that honor.  However, the barrel strength rye is an extremely enjoyable pour full of rye spice and brown sugar richness.

With this new release, Michter’s takes that rye whiskey and lets it rest in toasted barrels for a short amount of time, just like their previous releases of Toasted Barrel Bourbon.  This is the first time they’ve barrel finished a rye.  The barrels used for the finishing process, as the name implies, have been toasted and not charred.  The wood used for the barrels was air dried for 24 months.

What does this toasted barrel do to the base rye whiskey?  In short, it intensifies the flavors.

The nose is ripe with dark brown sugar, vanilla and a cornucopia of baking spices.  The latter is more pronounced here than in Michter’s Barrel Proof Rye.  On the palate, this toasted barrel-finished rye comes across as rich and bittersweet.  Dark caramel and burnt sugar kick things off, followed by lovely toasted rye bread and a cabinet full of baking spices like allspice, cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon.  A layer of vanilla cream acts as a counterbalance against all the spice.  The medium-length finish features spiced caramel and a touch of smoke.

Wow.  The barrel finishing added a different dimension to Michter’s rye whiskey character.  To add even more uniqueness, this release is a single barrel whiskey, which means each barrel could be slightly different.  My 110 proof sample came from barrel 17C570.  It’s simply fantastically rich and flavorful.  The price is right, too.  $75 for a 750ml bottle.  Now the bad news – this is a limited release and not a regular offering.  Fans of Michter’s rye whiskies should rush to pick this one up.  9/10



Michter’s 10-Year-Old Bourbon (2017) Review

Michter’s 10-year-old bourbon is a whiskey release I look forward to each year.  Like previous bottlings, the 2017 release is a single barrel bourbon.  This is also a sort of celebratory bottling, timed to commemorate Master Distiller Emeritus Willie Pratt’s induction into Whisky Magazine’s Hall of Fame.  It’s also current Master Distiller Pamela Heilmann’s first 10-year-old Bourbon release.  She recently approved the very delicous 2017 bottling of Michter’s 10-year-old rye whiskey.  So, how’s the whiskey?

The short answer is, well, quite good.

The nose is typical of what I know Michter’s 10-year to be – full of baking spices and wave after wave of caramel and brown sugar, along with hints of integrated corn and vanilla extract.  There’s the occasional whiff of dusty oak.  The palate is rich and buttery, with a blast of creamy vanilla and dark brown sugar.  Cigar box and some herbs soon develop, as well as lightly steeped black tea on the back palate.  This leads to the slightly dry and mildly spicy medium finish.

This all sounds good, and it is.  Michter’s 10 is quite enjoyable.  Comparing to the 2015 and 2016 bottlings, I find this one slightly lacking.  The finish here is a bit drier than recent releases.  Though I’d happily sip on this one, the 2017 Michter’s 10 year doesn’t quite hit the same heights and complexity of recent releases.  8.5/10


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

Michter’s 10-Year-Old Rye Whiskey (2017) Review

There’s something special about a rye whiskey with a little age.  I’m not a giant fan of really young rye.  Two or three year old rye whiskies are best for cocktails, in my opinion.  At around the six year mark, things start to get interesting.  The young “green” note is no longer present, as the spirit has had some time to round out its edges.  Though the sharp notes are mostly gone, the rye grain still brings that zesty spicy quality I look for in this type of whiskey.  After a decade in the barrel, some rye whiskies, like this expression from Michter’s, can put you under a magic spell.  The spirit mellows out and intimately intermingles with everything the American Oak barrel it ages in brings to the table – baking spices, vanilla and caramel.

This release of Michter’s 10-year-rye whiskey marks the first special release from their new Master Distiller Pamela Heilmann.  If you’ve read Fred Minnick’s beautifully written “Whiskey Women,” you’ll know women played an important role in the whiskey world. Whiskey is still mainly a male-dominated industry, so it’s refreshing that Michter’s has promoted Heilmann as their Master Distiller.  She previously ran the Booker Noe distillery for seven years before joining the Michter’s team.

The whiskey itself is a single barrel rye bottled at 92.8 proof.  My sample came from barrel 17A37.  It goes through one of Michter’s filtration processes before being bottled.  The suggested retail price is $150.  Michter’s 2016 release of their 10-year-old rye whiskey was one of my favorites of the year.  How does the 2017 release fare?

Wonderful aromas of figs, baking spices, brown sugar, and toasted rye bread fill the nose.  On the palate, this whiskey is mouthcoating.  An initial caramel sweetness is tempered by some rye spice, followed by hints of Madagascar vanilla bean, dark brown sugar, licorice and tobacco leaf.  Slight oak tannins creep in during the medium-length finish, along with cinnamon candy and caramel.

From first sniff, I knew I’d like this whiskey.  It’s beautifully matured and delivers an aromatic nose and rich flavors you can only get from a well-aged rye whiskey.  Highly recommended. 9/10

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