Michter’s Small Batch US*1

Michter’s Small Batch US*1

91.4 Proof Kentucky Bourbon

Batch No. 13I277

I’d like to start by saying I hope I’m not the only one that’s been walking around calling this brand “Mitcher’s” for a long time…

The Michter whiskey legacy goes back to 1753 when John Shenk decided to build a small distillery in order to make use of the excess rye his farms were producing.  It is said that George Washington loved this particular rye, and purchased a bunch of it for his troops while they waited out the winter at Valley Forge.  This is why they call it “the whiskey that warmed the American Revolution.”  Who knows if this is true–bourbon marketing is always concerned with linking a brand with some important historical figure or tradition–but it’s a nice story either way.  His distillery was bought and sold a few times but remained successful until Prohibition when, like most other distilleries in the USA, it had to shut down operations.  Interestingly enough, this was all happening in Pennsylvania, not Kentucky. Eventually in 1951, then-owner Louis Forman began making an old fashioned pot-still mash whiskey that he named after his two sons, Michael and Peter.  Got that?–MICHael and peTER.  MICH-TER.  So that solves that mystery.  Things were then up and down, the distillery bought and sold (again), but eventually in 1989 they called it it quits and straight up filed bankruptcy, and that was the last we ever saw of Michter’s Whiskey.  WAIT NO!  Right, so in the 1990s, the Purple-Heart-Getting, Korean-War-Fighting, American War Hero that we all know and love, Dick Newman, comes onto the scene and decides he is going to have a career in the spirits business, and thanks to him in 2004 Michter’s began being made and sold in Bardstown, KY.  Just recently Michter’s has actually opened its own distillery in Louisville, KY, so it seems the name Michter is not going anywhere anytime soon, wouldn’t Michael and Peter be proud.  Though Peter less so, I’m sure he always felt like they should have named it Petael Whiskey.

Let’s taste this thing.  I’m getting lots of caramel and vanilla (surprise) on the nose, apricot (nice) and oak.  This small batch carries no age statement, but it has definitely spent a few years in a barrel.  The oak that comes through on the palate is very dry, almost astringent, it sucks the spit right out of your mouth, but in a good way, not like the tube they use at the dentist.  It’s also not that super charred woody oak that older bourbons (leads me to believe this is less than 5 years aged) often carry, it’s more of a fresh oak like if you took a bite out of an oak tree in the forest, which I urge you not to do.  I read somewhere that this bourbon is aged in previously used charred white oak barrels, not new charred white oak barrels like every other bourbon on the planet…in fact technically you can’t call it bourbon if it’s not aged that way, so this is probably false–however it would explain the unique fresh oak flavor perhaps.  Moving on…I’m getting more caramel coating the tongue, honey and corn–this is a fairly sweet drink despite it’s short, dry finish.  I can’t find anything on their mash bill, but I imagine it is very high in corn and very low in rye, though it is a tad spicy.  It feels a little thin compared to what I enjoy most, but it is an easy, pleasant drink, and might be great in the summer over a big, cold rock.

Overall I’m a tiny, tiny bit disappointed with this bourbon.  That’s not to say it isn’t a great bourbon, it is, but the Michter’s brand has gotten a lot of hype in the last couple of years, and this isn’t quite living up to it for me.  However they have a few other releases including a rye, a 10-year rye, and a 10-year single barrel bourbon that I’m sure are delicious.

Rating: 7.1 / 10

Bought at Country Club Package Store in Macon, GA for $39.99

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