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
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