Michter’s Toasted Barrel

Michter’s US*1 Bourbon

Toasted Barrel Finish

91.4 Proof (yeah they stuck with that same annoyingly weird yet enticingly different 45.7% ABV)

Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Finished Whiskey.  No I don’t mean I’ve finished drinking whiskey, that will probably happen on the day that I die.  I’m talking about whiskey that is pulled out of its new, charred oak barrel and dumped into ANOTHER barrel–typically a barrel that was previously housing something completely different (like another spirit, a liqueur, or even a cocktail).  In the case of the Michter’s Toasted Barrel Finish we are talking about (you guessed it) TOASTED OAK BARRELS.  By toasted oak barrels, they mean new oak barrels that were put over an open wood fire (supposedly the fire was from the very same wood that the barrel was made from, kinda cool and sadistic) for 60 minutes, just lightly toasting them as opposed to charring the shit out of them like your typical bourbon barrel.  They rested the bourbon in these barrels for 26 days (to give it the perfect toastiness) then into the bottle it went, Limited Release style.  It’s kinda gimmicky, yes, but I’m also cool with someone trying something new, and this is the first “toasted barrel” I’ve ever heard of.  But does it work?

The short answer is…yes.  The nose on this is great.  It’s sweet, but there are some cool fresh cut oak notes that come through and a bit of smokiness (I suppose that’s the point of the toasted barrel finish), then your requisite vanilla and caramel.  Smells like bourbon.  Oh, wait, oh, yes.  Creamed corn and marshmallows.  That’s there.  Thats awesome.  Pretty cool nose but you have to dig a little bit, it’s kinda tight, but much more open than US*1.  On the palate it does start sweet as expected but passes along the tongue to some serious woodiness.  Pretty smooth but finishes hot and much dryer than expected, slightly astringent with the same indefinable off-flavor that I get with the normal Michter’s US*1.  The nose on this bourbon is much more interesting and enjoyable than the normal US*1, the palate only slightly nicer, but that’s something.

So, yeah, I’m pleasantly surprised by this one.  This is definitely a step up from the normal US*1 Bourbon, the toasted barrel seems to be just what it needed to round it out.  But still, value-wise, there are so many better options in this price range.  If you’re like me and love to exhaust your options, definitely give this one a try, it’s doing some cool stuff.  But the US*1 is not an amazing enough starting whiskey for me, and doing something cool to it only goes so far, especially at this price point.

Rating: 7.7 / 10

Bought at One Stop Wines in Johnson City, TN of all places for $44.99 (MSRP $50) in October 2014.

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