This is the first version of the toasted barrel Bourbon released by Michter’s since the retirement of Willie Pratt. Pam Heilmann and Andrea Wilson were in charge of this release and I will say that they did well. I expected nothing less. This is aged Michter’s Bourbon placed in a new barrel that is heavily toasted, but not charred for a period of time. They keep the length of this finishing a secret but it is assumed that it is several months at least and maybe as long as a year. The fact that it is a finished product they are not allowed to place an age statement on the label, but I doubt they would even if they could. Their warehouses are heated in the winter to add extra “cycles” of heat and cooling to the whiskey. Like Brown-Forman, Buffalo trace and other distilleries that “heat cycle” their whiskey, they believe this speeds up the aging process of their whiskey. I agree that it does change the style of whiskey being made, but I also believe that there are certain processes that happen that are time related and not barrel related, so I would not say that it adds any age to the whiskey. I think their lower barrel entry proof of 103 has as much impact on the whiskey as the heat cycling of the warehouses. In any case, Michter’s makes many great whiskeys and this is one of them.
Michter’s Toasted Barrel Bourbon
Age: No Age Statement
Nose: Butterscotch with some brown sugar. Ripe fruit – pears and berries, with some oak and spice notes. I could spend hours just nosing this Bourbon.
Taste: Caramel and fruit – definitely pears, with some baking spices and oak. Tasted with a dried cranberry and the butterscotch comes forward and the oak and spices are reduced. Tasted with a pecan it becomes more of a buttered toffee up front and a little pepper spice and oak.
Finish: Long – it starts sweet but dries out nicely with some oak and spice notes. The cranberry shortens the finish and brings forward more spice and less oak. The pecan also shortens the finish but brings out the oak dryness.
I have chosen a Nat Sherman – Joel Sherman 75th Celebration cigar to pair with this Bourbon. I find the smoke to be sweet tobacco with vanilla and cedar spiciness. With the Bourbon I find the smoke to be a bit sweeter with notes of caramel and less cedar spice. The smoke brings forward the pear fruit in the Bourbon and the spice becomes more of a nutmeg spice. A very good pairing with this Bourbon.
Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller