Every year, Michter’s releases their legacy brands of Shenk’s Sour Mash and Bomberger’s Bourbon brands. This year, the Shenk’s Sour Mash was aged in specially toasted French oak barrels whose staves had been air dried for 24 months from the Vosges region of France. The Bomberger’s was aged in Chinquapin oak that had been air dried for three years before being toasted and charred to the specification laid out by Michter’s Master of Maturation and Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame member, Andrea Wilson. These special barrels give these brands a different flavor profile from the previous releases of the brands. I like the fact that Michter’s changes the flavor profile of these whiskeys for each year’s release. They are always good whiskeys, but it is nice to see Michter’s experimenting with different types of barrels for the brands. Matt and I tasted these whiskeys and here are our tasting notes.
Shenk’s Sour Mash Whiskey
Age: No Age Statement
- Mike: Caramel, oranges, baking spices and oak wood.
- Matt: Vanilla, raisins, creamy latte coffee and oak wood.
- Mike: Caramel with lots of citrus notes of orange and lemon zest, cardamom spice, leather and tobacco with some oak wood. Tasted with a dried cranberry and the caramel moves forward and chocolate notes come out. Tasted with a pecan and the citrus becomes stronger, with cinnamon, cardamom and dark chocolate.
- Matt: Vanilla, raisins, rose water and oak wood. The dried cranberry brings out notes of honey and maple syrup. The pecan gives it a chewy mouthfeel with chocolate, cocoa butter and maple syrup.
- Mike: Medium long with oak, spice and lingering citrus notes. The dried cranberry made the finish longer and added some lingering chocolate notes. The pecan made the finish very long with hints of chocolate, spice and oak wood.
- Matt: Medium long with oak and leather notes. The dried cranberry evoked dark, pitted fruits. The pecan made the finish long with dark chocolate, leather and oak.
Age: No Age Statement
- Mike: Caramel and chocolate, dark, pitted fruits, baking spices and oak wood.
- Matt: Caramel. toasted nuts, cherries and oak wood.
- Mike: Caramel, cherries, dates, chocolate, allspice, cardamom and oak wood. The dried cranberry enhanced the chocolate notes and the oak wood. The pecan added a note of cinnamon to the spice mix.
- Matt: Caramel with cherries and strawberries and oak wood. The dried cranberry added a note of sweet marshmallow and vanilla. The pecan added flavors of dark chocolate, leather and a chewy mouthfeel.
- Mike: Long with oak, spice and lingering cherries and dates. The dried cranberry added notes of cinnamon to the spices. The pecan made the finish drier with oak, and spice.
- Matt: Long with oak, leather and lingering cherry notes. The dried cranberry gave the finish sweet flavors of brown sugar, oak and cinnamon candy. The pecan made the finish longer with caramel, oak and leather.
I would pair these whiskeys with a cigar that has a rich vanilla and slightly fruity flavor to the smoke. I would reach for a My Father La Opulencia cigar.
Photos Courtesy of Maggie Kimberl and Rosemary Miller