Tag Archives: mashbill

Michter’s Whiskey Launch, Dublin, 2019

There’s some whiskey launches I didn’t get round to writing up – Michter’s being one of them.

It’s nothing to do with the quality of the product – nor the hospitality shown on the day – which were both outstanding I must say – other things & life just got in the way.

So in February 2019 a packed crowd of whiskey fans gathered in a Dublin venue to sample the delights of Michter’s Whiskey. Oh those heady days of pre-COVID freedom!

I was already convinced of the marvels of Michter’s having sampled the core range at Whisky Birmingham.

Michter’s Birmingham 2017 c/othewhiskeynut

A brief history of Michter’s served as an introduction.

Originally founded in 1753 & incorporating the Shenk’s & Bomberger’s families too, Michter’s – along with many others – collapsed during the lean years of the 70’s & 80’s.

A couple of entrepreneurs bought the brand names in the 90’s, selected choice casks from distilleries & proceeded to build up a reputation for fine bourbon & rye. This was Phase 1.

Phase 2 started in the early 2000’s. With dwindling stocks of barrels & increased sales a more steady supply was needed. Contract distilling in Kentucky began with specific mashbills, filling percentages, maturation policy & filtration standards all being controlled by Michter’s exacting standards.

Phase 3 is Michter’s producing their own whiskey in their own distilleries. That is currently in play right now – so for the moment – the whiskeys presented to us at the event were from Phase 2.

9 Michter’s awaiting c/othewhiskeynut

Michter’s Straight Rye, 42.4%

Distinctive rye nose, candy sweet & spicy dry. Smooth & easy palate. Decent complexity with long dry peppery spice on the finish.

A solid rye to start the proceedings.

Michter’s Straight Bourbon, 45.7%

Sweet & surprisingly spicy nose. The rye content isn’t too high – the exact ratios weren’t revealed – & it was suggested the spice emanates from the char 3 level virgin oak casks used. Whatever the method – it resulted in a warmth of flavour rounded up by a long peppery spice finish.

Lovely.

Michter’s Sour Mash, 43%

Being neither 51% corn or rye – Sour Mash has a mixed mashbill offering an intriguing sweet & sour nose. Lovely mouthfeel with soft spices & quite a dry finish.

Entertaining.

Michter’s American Whiskey, 41%

Using 2nd fill barrels for maturation & a corn, rye & barley mashbill – American Whiskey cannot be called Bourbon or Rye. Lighter on the palate than the others, there was still a richness of flavour & slight spice which reeled me in.

Alluring.

The above 4 made up the core range – & very engaging they were too! In a divergence from my love of rye – I have to say the combination of rich warm flavours along with a peppery dry spiciness of Straight Bourbon won me over in this group.

But there’s more!

Crowded table c/othewhiskeynut

Michter’s Toasted Barrel Finish Straight Bourbon, 45.7%

Part of a limited release range, Toasted Barrel benefits from extra ageing in – no surprises – toasted barrels which impart a slight smokiness to the bourbon. Not a peatiness nor BBQ style however – more a gentle wood fire vibe going on.

Very pleasing.

Then a couple of age statement whiskeys – rare enough for America!

10 Year Old Straight Rye, 47.2%

Great classic rye nose – boosted with more depth & warmth – which flowed through into the palate. Smoother, richer & more complex than before.

A gorgeous rye.

10 Year Old Straight Bourbon, 47.2%

Again this bourbon impressed! A winning combination that just dialled up the overall experience a big notch.

Fabulous.

Yet the goodies kept on coming!

I was particularly looking forward to the next pair from the Legacy Series.

Shenk’s Homestead c/othewhiskeynut

Shenk’s Homestead, 2018, 45.6%

Finished in French Oak Barrels – there was more of a rounded dark fruity sweetness on this one. Very chewy – although the finish fell away a bit quickly.

Luxurious.

Bomberger’s Declarartion c/othewhiskeynut

Bomberger’s Declaration, 2018, 54%

Finished in Chinquapin Oak – a gorgeous dry tannic spice gave wonderful richness & depth to this bottle which immediately propelled it to my top spot!

Stunning.

Such a fabulous showcasing of the Michter’s range & generous hospitality of the brand!

There was much milling around & happy chatting afterwards & I managed a cheeky sampling of the 20 Year Old Straight Bourbon, 57.1%

20yo Michter’s c/othewhiskeynut

Ooops!

Despite being such a rare opportunity – I must admit to finding the dryness & high strength combo being too much for me & obliterating the welcome warmth & engaging flavours of it’s younger stablemates.

So what did I take away from it all?

Well I really enjoyed Michter’s!

Their attention to detail certainly comes through in the fabulous flavours of the range.

For my part, age, high ABV & rye aren’t automatic winners. A combination of elements & ingredients along with careful maturation in varied cask regimes can bring about stunning whiskey.

I wish Michter’s future success with their own distilleries!

Sláinte

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McAfee’s Benchmark, Old No 8 Kentucky Straight Bourbon, 40%

As it’s National Bourbon Day I thought I’d celebrate by cracking open a bottle that’s been sitting in my cupboard for some time.

When I first bought this bourbon I knew nothing about it.

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Old No 8 c/othewhiskeynut

My original impression was that as it has a large 8 emblazoned on the label it must be a step up from the 7 on a bottle of Jack?

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Old No. 7 c/othewhiskeynut

And on eventually getting round to a tasting – it certainly did satisfy my palate more.

A lovely golden hue complete with decent legs graced the Túath glass on a pour. Being a ‘straight‘ bourbon guarantees no added caramel in the mix.

Soft and gentle on the palate to begin with, the flavours & heat slowly grew in intensity giving a good showing of vanillas & sweet caramel mixed with darker hints of tobacco and a lovely growing spice towards the end.

For me the finish was the best bit.

The spiciness – suggestive of a decent rye percentage in the mashbill – slowly dried out leaving a gentle prickliness in the mouth – which I enjoy.

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McAfee’s Benchmark c/othewhiskeynut

Being an entry level bourbon – Benchmark is appropriately named as it does provide an exceedingly pleasing drinking experience from which other bourbons can be compared.

Only after I purchased this bottle did I find out it’s part of the Buffalo Trace portfolio from Kentucky.

Interestingly it shares the same mashbill as Buffalo Trace itself – along with the more aged Eagle Rare & George T Stagg offerings!

The only differences are the time spent in the barrel – they are all virgin american oak remember with the same char level – and which part of the rickhouse they were stored in during maturity.

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The 2017 Antique Collection – fabulous! c/othewhiskeynut

Having tasted the Eagle Rare 17 Year Old 2017 release at Whiskey Live Dublin – it would be folly to compare the 2 bourbons – but you can appreciate the solid foundations of the young Benchmark that with added maturity grew into the stunning Eagle Rare 17.

But then my local O’Briens only stocked Benchmark!

Sláinte

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