The other day, Rosemary and I were invited to Michter’s Fort Nelson Distillery for a gathering of the local press and whiskey writers. Michter’s was celebrating the fact that the COVID vaccine made it possible to have such gatherings. They also have found some excellent barrels of their Bourbon, so they switched out the rye barrels that they had been bottling at Fort Nelson for Bourbon barrels. When you take the tour at Fort Nelson, you have a chance to purchase personalized bottles of barrel strength whiskey. You fill out some label information and your name on the label, then you fill the bottle from the barrel, at barrel strength and minimum filtration. Rosemary and I each filled a bottle for our collection of Michter’s bottles. Dan McKee would not say where the whiskey was distilled, but did say they have whiskey distilled in their Shively distillery old enough and that whiskey is in the bottles of Michter’s products in the market. Michter’s is selling well around the world, so they may still be doing some contract distilling to keep up with demand, but they are distilling with multiple shifts in Shively, so maybe they are making all of their product themselves. In any case, I have not noticed a flavor drift in their whiskeys, so they have done an excellent job matching the whiskey they had contract distilled for them. This is a real demonstration of Pam Heilmann’s talent as a distiller. She was able to figure out how to match the quality and taste of the contract distilled whiskeys so quickly, that there is no noticeable flavor change.
Matt and I sat down and tasted this barrel strength Bourbon the other day and here are our tasting notes.
Michter’s Barrel Strength Bourbon From Fort Nelson
Age: No Age Statement
- Mike: Rich caramel and apples with a little white pepper and sweet oak wood.
- Matt: Candied apples –Caramel and red delicious apples with some white pepper spice and oak wood.
- Mike: Caramel apples sprinkled with hazelnuts, a little cinnamon and nutmeg spice and sweet oak wood. Tasted with a dried cranberry and a creamy French vanilla comes out to join the party. Tasted with a pecan and notes of dark chocolate come forward.
- Matt: Chocolate and caramel with cherry and prune fruits with some nutmeg spice and sweet oak wood. The dried cranberry made the Bourbon very creamy like a mocha latte coffee with a little baking spice sprinkled on top. The pecan made it taste of a rich caramel and chocolate toffee candy.
- Mike: Long with oak and spice and a little lingering apple fruit. The dried cranberry added a note of sweet vanilla lingering besides the apple. The pecan made the finish very long with sweet oak wood, dark chocolate and a hint of baking spices.
- Matt: Long with oak and red pepper flake spiciness. The dried cranberry added baking spices to the finish, making it very spicy. The pecan brought out notes of tobacco with the oak and spice.
I would pair this Bourbon with a cigar with some cedar spice and rich tobacco notes in the smoke. A Fuente Opus X is the first thing that comes to mind to pair with this fine whiskey.
Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller