Oyo Bourbon Review Photo

OYO Bourbon Review: Michelone’s Reserve

In Bourbon Whiskey Reviews by 2 Comments

Oyo Bourbon Review Photo

Since the last Ohio-based bourbon made me ashamed of my home state, I was eager to review Middle West Spirits‘ OYO Bourbon Whiskey with the hope of proving that the Buckeye State is not completely ignorant in the world of whiskey. This isn’t the first time I have tried the Michelone’s Reserve Bourbon from Middle West. I frequently include it on my list of recommended bourbons for bourbon tastings but before I explain why that is, let’s hear what their website has to say about this bourbon.  

Four generations of distilling traditions and one particularly determined grandfather inspired Middle West Spirits’ first Master’s Blend. This small-batch whiskey pairs the finest Kentucky straight bourbon with our award-winning OYO Whiskey to create a smooth, smoky, and softly sweet bourbon that proudly bears the name of the grandfather who inspired it all. The Michelone Reserve is a flavor-forward blend of sweet yellow corn, soft red winter wheat, dark pumpernickel rye, and two-row barley.

Tasting Notes:  ”Dark amber color.  Aromas of banana, coconut cream pies and toffeed nuts with a supple, fruity medium-to-full body and a sweet cream, dried fruit, honeyed whole nut, incense and baking spices driven finish.  A flavorful and elegantly balanced bourbon.”  –  International Review of Spirits, Beverage Testing Institute 

In practical terms this means that Middle West has found a really interesting middle road of craft bourbon production. They focus on creating their own wheat whiskey and then blend it with a carefully selected sourced rye bourbon to create a blend. The result is a wheated bourbon that still retains the rye bite. The reason I often recommend it for bourbon tastings is that the flavor profile of this bourbon is very different from traditional bourbons and is a great example of the new and interesting direction that craft distillers will be taking bourbon in future years.

Oyo Bourbon Review PhotoBourbon Name:  OYO Bourbon Whiskey: Michelone Reserve

Proof: 90

Age:  Under Four Years

Year:  2013

How I Drank It:  Neat, in Glencairn whiskey glass.

My Nose Noticed:* Cedar | Honey | Corn | Banana

First Sip:  Butterscotch | Peach | Corn | Cedar/Spearmint

The Burn:**  A very strong and long finish but not unpleasant. The initial flavor slips quickly over your tongue and then it is all about the burn.  It drinks smooth and wheaty but the finish leaves you with the tingling on the tongue and a mild heat in the throat. But oddly enough it is almost a cool burn. There is bitterness to the final taste that was not my favorite flavor. I think the finish shows the youth of this bourbon a bit. 

Neat, Splash or Rocks:  I tried it with a splash and then with a nice ice ball. With the water the sweeter flavors came out much more and tempered the bitterness of the finish. The ice had a similar effect but more so. As the ice melted it quickly diluted it a bit too much. I think the splash wins for me but if I wanted to take it easy and linger over the bourbon without paying it too much attention I would enjoy it with some rocks. 

Share With:  People who are feeling adventurous. This is a bourbon that has a very different flavor profile than traditional bourbons. If you have had a long, steady love of bourbon but are looking to get into something a little different on the weekend this would be a good place to start. 

Worth The Price:  At $50 a bottle it is steep but in line with other craft bourbons and most of them come nowhere near being worth the price. If you regularly spend $50 a bottle on spirits I don’t think this one will leave you feeling cheated. 

Bottle, Bar or Bust:  Like I said above, if you regularly spend $50 on bottles of bourbon this is well worth having, especially if you like pulling out unique bottles for guests and storytelling. But if a $50 bottle is a once or twice a year treat for you then stick with trying it at a bar. 



About the Author

Ginny Tonic

Facebook Twitter

Although Ginny was a late bloomer to the world of drinking she likes to think she’s making up for lost time. She had my first manhattan at the age of 24 and fell in love. Finally, there was a drink she felt cool ordering and actually liked the taste of. Bourbon is her drink of choice and where she geeks out the most, but she honestly enjoys all aspects of drinking. The way it brings people together, the way it combines art, science, and culture, the way a nice drink at the end of the day can make the world seem so much better than it did a few minutes before. When she’s not writing for Bourbon & Banter, she writes for Queen City Drinks and co-hosts two podcasts: an hour long culture podcast called The Charlie Tonic Hour and a shorter all alcohol show called Bottoms Up. She is also the owner and lead guide for Tonic Tours, where they offer small group alcohol-based tours that focus on craft producers as well as hosting classes, tasting and other events.

  • […] later I am now employed by two of the distilleries that I have written about, as a Sale Manager for Middle West Spirits and as a part-time tour guide for New Riff […]

  • Shane Lindsey says:

    I bought the Michelone’s Reserve simply because of the description on the bottle and because it was local. What a pleasant surprise. I too noticed a taste of honey. I’m not a bourbon expert, but I found the taste sweet and complex. I love the aroma. It was to bourbon what a good port is to wine. I have since bought it twice more and will again if I find it in stores. A pleasant departure from the typical.