Water of Life – Michter’s
Ah, bourbon – the whisky of the South!
Full disclosure: On the road, I find it indefinitely harder to locate a good bourbon within the confines of say a hotel bar with more pedestrian offerings than it is to find a bearable Scotch. However, persistence and guidance of some luminaries showed me the light and have exposed me to some treasures that have become regular go-tos.
Case in point: while Michter’s Whisky ( https://michters.com ), one of the distilleries whose reputation is based on the longstanding history that comes with the distillery along with the folklore and legends that surround it, including some fairly prominent members of other bourbon dynasties having at least temporarily been part of the operations, which to this day focus on quality control and small batches.
Linguistically, the name is a hybrid and comprises the first names of Louis Forman’s offspring, i.e. Peter and Michael – but enough of the info, let’s delve into what drops they have to offer:
Michter’s US*1 Bourbon Whiskey is one that accomplishes something I do not very often encounter with other bourbons: The aroma intrigues me with its melange of spicy, grainy and syrupy notes that are embedded within a frame of oaky vanilla. There is consistency to this expression as what tickles the nostrils continues the palate and unfolding the respective flavours, which continue through to the finish, which again perpetrates the flavour nuances.
On to Michter’s US*1 Single Barrel Straight Rye. Rye is something that I won’t say no to when convening with friends in Canada, however, it is not one of my regular go-tos. Clocking in at 42.4% ABV, this is a smoooth one: In essence, it feels like a lighter footed, more sophisticated version of the Bourbon as it is not in-your-face when it comes to the rye nuances and has a diverse range of spices, cinnamon and caramel notes, which blend in with what I by now consider to be a Michter’s trademark vanilla tone.
On the roof of the mouth the rye is more dominant, but it does not overwhelm as it is beautifully flanked by chocolate-y flavours that remind me of a particular Armorik dram that is essentially crème brulee in liquid form. Nice mouthfeel that coats and warms your receptors.
The finish bookends the flavour journey with more vanilla and chocolate notes that culminate with an elongated rye ending.
A beautifully light yet full bodied and subtle expression that should be in the top ten of rye so aficionados.
So far for more the more regularly accessible offerings.
With the Michter’s 10-Year-Old Single Barrel and the corn, malted barley and rye mash bill, we are entering next level territory, which what materializes on the nose already promises, i.e. a wide and complex melange of fruits, vanilla, spices and chocolate. We are talking full-bodiedness and a wide variety of subtle nuances feeding into a flavour profile which is informed by the charred oak cask, ranging from tobacco via malt to spicy notes that are pervaded by a crispness reminiscent of apple juice. The finish reverberates with its spice and grain notes and leaves one lusting for another dram.
Sounds contradictive? Trust me, it will make perfect sense once you taste it. This is one with depth for special occasions with a flavour profile and mouthfeel that is exceptional.
image from company website