Michter’s

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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Review: Michter’s 10-year-old Rye Whiskey (2018)

Michter’s has released their coveted 10-year-old rye whiskey for the first time in more than a year.  The single barrel expression consistently ranks among my favorite rye whiskies. Just like the last time, Michter’s 10-year-old rye barrels were selected by Master of Maturation Andrea Wilson and approved by Master Distiller Pamela Heilmann.

Though Michter’s is currently distilling at their new distillery (a place I really need to visit), the stocks that make up this whiskey came through contract distilling.  That’s different from sourcing whiskey.  Contract distilling means making your whiskey at an existing distillery to your specifications (mash bill, unique yeast strain, etc).

Bottled at 46.4% ABV, or 93.8 proof, Michter’s 10yr rye undergoes the company’s “signature filtration.”  My sample bottle came from barrel no. 18E559.

The nose on this whiskey always does it for me – dark, rich caramels with an abundance of baking spices like nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, and cardamom, as well as a bit of toasted oak.  On the palate, the whiskey doesn’t disappoint.  Layers and layers of dark caramel wash over the front palate as those lovely spice notes ramp up in intensity.  A little bit of toasted rye is present, as is a touch of vanilla pod.  A dark chocolate note appears mid-palate, along with a touch of leather and oak.  The finish features more caramel alongside toasted coconut,  dried fruit, and spice.

Michter’s has another winner on their hands with this expression.  It keeps in line with a richness found in a lot of Michter’s whiskies.  Decadent is a great descriptor here.  Quite lovely.  A bottle runs a suggested retail price of $160, and I think it’s worth every penny.  Nicely done.  9/10

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

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