For the last several years, Michter’s has knocked it out of the park with their toasted barrel finished whiskies. While they were all of outstanding quality, the one that stood out for me was their Toasted Barrel Finish Rye Whiskey. There was something special about it. Here’s what I wrote about their 2017 release:
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.
Sounds great, doesn’t it? Part of the reason is the quality of those custom toasted barrels, which were made from 24 month seasoned wood. The barrel finishing adds layers of baking spice and vanilla richness to an already bold rye whiskey. That rye whiskey also obtains its richness from a lower barrel entry proof. Michter’s new make spirit enters the barrel at 103 proof as opposed to the standard 125 proof used by a lot of other distillers.
Michter’s Toasted Barrel Finish Rye is bottled at cask strength, with the average bottling proof sitting around 109. My sample bottle came in at 110 proof, though it drinks more like a 95 or 100 proof whiskey. As far as tasting notes, I’m keen to ask you to refer to my notes for the 2017 release above. My 2020 sample shows very slight subtleties, such as a touch of burnt orange peel in the mid-palate. After all, these are single barrel releases so slight variance is to be expected. But this goes to show the strict tolerances in keeping their flavor profile intact between releases. Kudos to the Michter’s team. For a suggested retail price of $85, you can’t find a much tastier rye on the market.
Thanks to Michter’s for the sample. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
There are plenty of things to like about what Michter’s is doing, but one of them is their interesting Toasted Barrel Finish series. To date, we’ve first seen their bourbon followed by their rye. The bouquet and flavors of both whiskies were given upgrades in the vanilla and caramel department, thanks to the toasted barrel finish.
In this third welcome addition to the series, Michter’s gives their Sour Mash whiskey the toasted barrel finish treatment. The company started by allowing their fully mature Sour Mash whiskey a secondary maturation period in mildly toasted barrels. The resultant whiskey was bottled at 86 proof.
I love nosing the whiskies in this series. In this case, a hearty dose of toffee is accompanied by hints of toasted rye bread, brown sugar, and toasted oak. Some cardamom and cinnamon comes through as well. On the palate, the whiskey provides more of the same. Wave after wave of rich caramel gives way to toasted marshmallow, vanilla bean, and corn pudding. A mild sprinkling of cinnamon and other baking spices come through on the mid-palate. Heading into the long finish is a nice toasted oak note.
It’s worth saying again: I absolutely love what Michter’s is doing with their whiskies, from their US*1 lineup to their 10-year-old bourbon and rye to these toasted barrel finished whiskies. The amplification of caramel and vanilla notes taste natural and not artificial or out of place, all the while keeping a nicely balanced flavor profile. For the $60 asking price, Michter’s Toasted Barrel Finish Sour Mash Whiskey is a home run. 8.5/10
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