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.
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 Straight Bourbon (No. 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 (no. 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 No. 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 (No. 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.
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 (Unspecified) | $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%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $30.00
Style: American whiskey Color: Amber with streaks of gold. Aroma: 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.