A blend of three rye and three bourbon barrels ranging from 10 to 33 years old. Powerful and mouth-coating. Initially, a French bakery, with caramel, vanilla, and torched brown sugar dominating. Then, more complex notes, such as cinnamon roll, coconut, chocolate, slight hints of oak, allspice, hints of smoked paprika, chipotle, roasted almond, and Polish sweet bread. A long finish offers fruit and nutmeg. Tasty sipper at the perfect proof.
Michter’s 20 year old Straight Bourbon 2018 (Batch 18I1371), 57.1%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $700
Age is readily apparent, not as weariness, but sheer intensity—like a Vise-Grip handshake from an old man. The flavors come in rapid waves, first on the nose with pipe tobacco, dark chocolate, sassafras, cassis, licorice, orange peel, and menthol-like hints of solvent. Then chewy fruit and drying oak harmonize on the palate, the dark berry fruits playing off the refined oak with its cedary spice. The drying finish echoes of rustling autumn leaves and plum skins. Exquisitely balanced and muscular.
Michter’s 10 year old Single Barrel Straight Rye (Barrel No. 19F965), 46.4%
Rye Whiskey | $160
Concord grape juice, leather armchair, cola syrup, iced tea, roasted pecans, and furniture polish on the nose. The palate is deeply fruity, with cooked cherries, blackberries, Concord grape jelly, Coca-Cola, dark chocolate, silky baking spice, and white pepper, with a lush and velvety texture. A complex finish of bitter chocolate, peanut shell, Dr. Pepper, and leathery oak rounds things out.
Exudes a tantalizing and heady aroma of baking spices, crème brûlée, and toasted oak, with Nilla Wafers and Jordan almonds lending confectionary notes. The oily mouthfeel and chewy viscosity are powerful yet balanced, as the lovely caramelized sweetness of grilled pound cake meets blackberry, lemon oil, ginger, and flickers of allspice. Focused and seamless in its rich tapestry of flavors. Editors’ Choice
Michter’s 20 year old Bourbon (Barrel #1646), 57.1%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $450
A soothing bourbon, with maple syrup, blackberry preserve, polished leather, roasted nuts, marzipan, vanilla toffee, dusty dates, subtle tobacco, and a hint of pedro ximinez sherry. Soft, flavorful finish. The oak is kept in check, with layered sugars and fruit for balance. The price of admission is steep, but this whiskey is very satisfying.
It packs a beautiful nose, with arcs of chocolate, vanilla wafer, cherry, caramelized brown sugar, baked pears, crème brûlée being torched, and coconut. These notes become concentrated and are complemented by cola, tobacco, spice, toffee, and pepper. Then hazelnut and vanilla coat the mouth, sitting there for a couple of minutes until the end—a supremely long finish. What complexity!
Michter’s 10 year old Single Barrel Rye 2018 (Barrel #18E560), 46.4%
Rye Whiskey | $160
This smells of rich toffee and caramel draped over leathery oak, and warm apples, with a touch of paraffin that evokes age. The body is quite generous—full and creamy—as flavors of maple candy and chocolate-covered cherry are nicely punctuated with red-pepper spice. Dense fudge-like flavors and lively citrus oils lead to a finish of black pepper and baking spices.
Complex and complete, the sweet and chewy aromas of maple syrup and crème de marrons meet milk chocolate and Andes Mints. On the palate, the intense layered sweetness of vanilla, crème brûlée, pecan pie, butterscotch, and honey is tempered by chili spice and deep earthy notes of leather and tobacco, before toffee and baking spices carry into the long finish.
Michter’s 10 year old Single Barrel Bourbon (Barrel #18B202), 47.2%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $120
There’s evident age here, with dried leaves, old suede jacket, and dusty oak at the forefront, but underlying that maturity is plenty of dried fruit, figs, and cola. It pours broad and mouth filling, exuding both power and grace as it delivers caramel, tobacco, and a mélange of baking spices—cloves and nutmeg. The solid wood structure and oak tannins are here in abundance, but never out of balance.
Michter’s 10 year old Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon (Barrel No. 19D662), 47.2%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $130
Initial fruit aromas play host to a savory medicinal note, like cherry cough drops or Robitussin, hinting of the formidable flavors to come as this dense whiskey unleashes waves of black cherry soda, chewy figs, stone fruits, citrus zest, and a cascade of bright vanilla on the rolling finish.
Michter’s 10 year old Single Barrel Straight Bourbon (Barrel #16B233), 47.2%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $120
Released in the spring of 2016. True balance and consistency from nose to finish, showing toffee, saltwater taffy, cinnamon Jolly Rancher, crème brûlée, nutmeg, toasted pecan, chocolate, fruit, delicate spice. Hints of pear, peach, and apple. I love the coffee and hazelnut on the long finish. I wonder if the taste would improve in the 107 to 111 proof range. As it is now, this is a must-have sipper.
Gorgeous dried apricot, peach cobbler, vanilla custard, plus a hint of cherry-flavored pipe tobacco. Rich, layered, and rounded caramel, with hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and allspice. Then earth, and lots of it, over a slightly chewy mouthfeel of caramel chew and Red Hots cinnamon candy. Medium finish counters wonderful bouquet and palate notes, but still lovely for sipping.
Michter’s 10 year old Single Barrel Rye (Barrel #17A34), 46.4%
Rye Whiskey | $150
On the nose, a tapestry of candied fruit, dark caramel, and molasses. Then it’s herbs, ocean air, oak, fruit, roasted peanuts, pecan pie, and pie crust in the oven. Nuanced vanilla appears, but prominent black licorice, leather, burnt pumpkin bread, and tobacco dominate toward the end. A decently long finish gives a strong hint of bread pudding. This is definitely not your typical rye, but it sure is tasty.
Michter’s 10 year old Single Barrel Straight Rye (Barrel #16A113), 46.4%
Rye Whiskey | $150
This rye has a lot going on. The palate ranges from herbs, caramel, cotton candy, honeysuckle, and rose petals, to chocolate, malt, black pepper, honey, and slightly burnt pizza crust. The whiskey sits on the palate, richly giving red fruit and pepper spice with a slight hint of banana on the end. The taste is magnificent. If the medium finish was just a little longer, this would venture into greatness.
At first, it’s truly American candy: melted chocolate-covered almonds and coconut. Then, it’s cinnamon, toffee, butterscotch, gingersnap cookies, red pepper, and Rice Krispies. This mouth-coating offers lingering baking spices throughout. A drop of water offers even more complexity, with pronounced caramel chew notes developing. With or without water, a complex and long finish awaits with hints of jalapeño chocolate.
Michter’s 10 year old Single Barrel Bourbon (Barrel #17B302), 47.2%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $120
Initially there’s a lot going on. Bakery confectionary meets spice rack, followed by dried oak, toasted oak, covered baked apples, canned peaches, and dried apricot. Then tobacco and leather strike before mouth-coating butterscotch and vanilla icing. Once these notes dissipate, lighter baked fruits and jams walk this into a medium finish. While good, this whiskey could have been great if it maintained its initial complexity.
Think of sitting on the front porch swing, legs up, a good song playing, and this smooth barrel strength rye. It’s an easy sipper, from the allspice and old-style licorice to the cadre of caramel and vanilla expressions that intertwine custard and German chocolate cake. You don’t expect sweetness, but it’s here, and lasting. If it has a weakness, it loses its intensity about mid-palate, but rebounds with a healthy medium-length finish.
After regular bourbon maturation, this is finished in a barrel made from toasted wood with no charring (and no age statement). The wood character of the nose is restrained; corn, vanilla, some nuts and light citrus, but just a light hint of oak spice. Complex mouth: corn pudding, cornmeal, sugar cookies, caramel, pawpaw, jackfruit, and a real creaminess that stretches into the finish…where we get the delayed oak. Mature whiskey smooth, young whiskey lively, and a good price, too. Sourced whiskey.
This limited release is aged in new charred oak, like Michter’s bourbons and ryes, but finished in uncharred barrels with a milder toast profile. Made from a mashbill that doesn’t qualify it as bourbon or rye, it has a nose of perfumed oak, candle wax, iced tea, orange blossom, and wild strawberries. A silky palate of licorice, spice, raisins, and dark fruits is followed by a finish of apple, pear, honey, chocolate, and oak.
The nose on this is lovely and seductive, with a gingerbread cookie quality coupled with leather and baking spices. The palate is lively and warming with root beer spices, but its character is overshadowed by the intensity of the toasted barrel, and feels just a bit hollow beneath all that lavish oak.
More mature and with more depth than the US-1 expression reviewed below. Lush, sweet notes of caramel and toffee up front are followed on the palate by light fruit, dried spices (cinnamon, evergreen, and a hint of ginger), finishing long and dry with more spice, leather, and suggestions of tobacco.
Smells like bourbon—corn, a bit of cinnamon, oak—but there’s something else: a touch of doughy sweetness, a note of straight wood, a twist. Light and pleasant, with enough heat to keep it respectable (and likely alive in a cocktail); all the usual suspects are here, but without the heavier oak character. Afternoon bourbon.
Michter’s US*1 Unblended American Whiskey (2013 Release), 41.7%
American Whiskey | $43
Off-market for two years. Nose of caramel, sugar wafers, and a touch of just-ripe nectarine. Sweet/smooth in the mouth, with sweet mint, rock candy, and gliding King syrup flavors slipping all over the tongue, while oak notes provide high spiciness. Finishes with a lingering light sweetness, like a dissolving sugar flake. With all the sweetness, though, it doesn’t cloy. Nice, if not complex.
Youthful in nature, and fairly straight-forward. Fresh, minty spice notes accompany some candied citrus fruit and some light toffee. What’s there is pleasing enough. I just wish there was more there (in both flavor and depth).
Michter's US*1 Small Batch Unblended American Whiskey, 41.7%
American Whiskey | $30
Layers of sweetness: concentrated vanilla, marshmallow, taffy, white chocolate and caramel. Subtle, underlying fruit. Palate: Again the layers of sweetness, but not to the point of being cloying or unpleasant-underlying notes of oak and minty, resinous spices emerge mid-palate and cut through the sweetness to keep it from dominating too much. Sweet and spicy finish.