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Expression Session — Tasting Six Whiskeys In The Michter’s Portfolio

Our journey to find the best booze for you to drink marches on. Last week, we got the chance to taste six (!) bottles from the Michter’s line. The Kentucky shingle has become one of the most lauded and sought after lines of whiskey out there. Their line is also wide-ranging. We tasted an American whiskey, a sour mash, two bourbons, and two ryes.

The real highlight was a chance to taste the soon-to-be iconic (read: unattainable) Michter’s 10 Year Old Bourbon. The expression made headlines just last month when a barrel of the stuff sold for over $200,000 at auction for charity. Then we ended on the 10 year Rye which has been gaining steam all over the whiskey world as a masterpiece.

I was joined on this journey by Single Malt Daily’s Nate Ganapathi. Nate has devoted his life to the pursuit of great whiskey (and collecting the stuff). We had a great conversation about the value of whiskey, Michter’s, and collecting bottles. You can watch the whole IGTV Live at the end of this article. For now, let’s dive into the whiskey.

Michter’s Small Batch Unblended American Whiskey

Michters Distillery

ABV: 41.7%
Average Price: $50

The Whiskey:

Generally speaking, when you see a whiskey labeled as “American Whiskey” it’s a blend of whiskey with neutral grain spirits to help keep costs down and profits high. This expression is labeled as “Unblended” specifically because it’s juice from Michter’s barrels only. The whiskey in these bottles was aged in barrels that are “whiskey-soaked.” Once the whiskey is just right, it’s then blended and small-batch bottled.

Tasting Notes:

Fruit greets you upfront. That fruit becomes more of dried fruit with bourbon vanilla and mild caramel sweetness. The fruit is what draws a line through the taste as the warm end slowly fades out.

Bottom Line:

This works in a highball or as a cocktail base. It’s versatile and tasty.

Michter’s Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Michters Distillery

ABV: 45.7%
Average Price: $50

The Whiskey:

This is a classic bourbon all around. The juice is aged in well-charred white oak until it hits the perfect spot. The juice is then small batched with no more than 20 barrels going into each bottling.

Tasting Notes:

This is a great yardstick bourbon. It hits a wonderful balance of bourbon vanilla and caramel with a hint of oak on the nose. There’s a sense of peach and apricot with all that vanilla-y depth and velvet mouthfeel. The sip fades fairly slowly as it warms and the oak really shines. When you add water, there’s a light wisp of smoke on the very end.

Bottom Line:

This works as either a cocktail base or a highball bourbon. I also drink it on the rocks from time to time.

Michter’s Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey

Michters Distillery

ABV: 42.4%
Average Price: $50

The Whiskey:

This single barrel rye is the rye that you can measure most others against (at this price point). The well-crafted juice is warehoused until the deeply charred new white oak barrels hit just the right moment in both texture and taste.

Tasting Notes:

Peppery rye and a hint of citrus open this one up. There’s a distant line of toffee but it’s really that peppery rye that shines the most with a subtle velvet textural depth. The wood carries the sip towards a warm, spicy end that lasts just long enough to remind you to take another sip.

Bottom Line:

I use this for Manhattans and Sazeracs whenever I have it on hand.

Michter’s Small Batch Original Sour Mash Whiskey

Michters Distillery

ABV: 43%
Average Price: $50

The Whiskey:

This was the first American whiskey to be named “Whiskey of the Year” by The Whiskey Exchange just last year. The reason this is a “sour mash” and not a bourbon or rye is that the mash bill doesn’t focus on corn or rye, hence it’s just a sour mash whiskey. The juice is then aged in new white oak with a heavy char.

Tasting Notes:

Smoked plums and rye spice mingle up top. The sip really embraces the smoky dark fruit with hints of vanilla and cherry popping up on the palate. The dram carries that smoky plumminess through to the end with a nice nod to the oak and bourbon-y vanilla underbelly.

Bottom Line:

I drink this with a single rock. The water really helps to amp up the smoked fruit, mild spice, and oak.

Michter’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey 10 Yrs. Old

Michters Distillery

ABV: 47.2%
Average Price: $175

The Whiskey:

This is the whiskey that’s about to hit Pappy levels of unavailability. This juice rests in new white oak for ten long years and is then bottled from single barrels that are hand-selected for their perfection. You’ll take a sip and realize what bourbon can be when left alone.

Tasting Notes:

That oak comes through with a fresh maple syrup sweetness. There’s a sense of bourbon vanilla but it’s dialed back as the sip edges more into the bitterness of the charred oak with a rich toffee creaminess. The maple syrup, oak, and toffee carry the sip towards a warm, yet curt end.

Bottom Line:

This is designed as a sipping whiskey. Add a rock or a little bit of soft mineral water to really open it up.

Michter’s Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey 10 Yrs. Old

Michters Distillery

ABV: 46.4%
Average Price: $200

The Whiskey:

The fact that this is a limited edition of a single barrel that is also quickly becoming the darling of the whiskey world means it’ll not be easy to find or cheap for much longer. The ten-year aging is what helps this rye stand out from the crowd. The juice inside is what makes whiskey lovers fall in love with it.

Tasting Notes:

Toffee, almond, and vanilla dance with chili pepper. The sip takes on a candied cinnamon edge (not unlike an all-natural Red Hot) that helps usher in a flourish of orange oils. The roasted almonds and chili linger as the hefty vanilla creates a svelte mouthfeel with an embracing warmth.

Bottom Line:

This is a great bottle to break out if you want to celebrate something. Add a drop or two of water to really help this dram shine its brightest. Or buy a couple of bottles and squirrel them away for a decade.

Check out the full tasting below!

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