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.

Michter’s Barrel Strength Rye Whiskey (2016) Review

Michters Barrel Strength Rye 2016

Michter’s Distillery has released a year’s worth of limited production whiskies, and it’s only May.  So far, 2016 has seen both their limited production 10-year-old rye whiskey and 10-year-old bourbon hit shelves.  Now, add another limited production whiskey to the list, as we’re seeing the second release of their robust barrel strength rye whiskey.  The first bottling came last spring, and it was fantastic.  You can read my review here.

The standard rye expression from Michter’s is bottled at 84.8 proof.  I think it is tasty, but lacks some “oomph”.  That was all corrected with their barrel strength rye.  This single barrel rye whiskey ranges in proof from 110.2 to 114.8 proof.  My sample bottle, from barrel 16D432, comes in at 111.8 proof.  Retail for Michter’s Barrel Strength Rye Whiskey is $75.

Michter’s barrel entry proof is 103 proof, which is lower than a majority of the big producers.  Why does the mean for the flavor of the whiskey?  Bourbon historian Michael Veach explains barrel entry proof at length in a great article on his website.

Rich and mouthwatering is a good description for the nose.  Concentrated aromas of dark brown sugar, allspice, vanilla frosting, and creamy caramel hit your nose all at once.  In a strange way, it sort of reminds me of the nose from a 1980 bottling of Wild Turkey 101 I had a few months back.  That sort of makes sense, as high-rye mashbilled Wild Turkey’s barrel entry proof back then was pretty low.  Michter’s Barrel Strength Rye is full-bodied, coating your tongue in a melange of bold flavors.  What appeared on the nose is also found on the palate.  Think caramelized dark brown sugar and creamy butter on the entry.  Allspice, rye spice, cinnamon stick, and some vanilla extract soon develop mid-palate, as does a touch of oak and black cherry.  This almost comes across as a high-rye bourbon rather than a rye whiskey.  The rich, dark brown sugar/caramel/vanilla/spice flavor combination lacks the overt sharpness of most rye whiskies.  The rye grain shows up in the modest finish, which is a bit dry.

I find that this 2016 release is slightly more enjoyable than the 2015 release, which was a standout rye.  This year’s edition is dangerously drinkable.  No, seriously.  Michter’s Barrel Strength rye whiskey is one you will fall in love with instantly.  Spoil yourself and pick up a bottle.

(Note: A review sample was provided by Michter’s.)