Michter’s

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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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.