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Michter’s Barrel Strength Rye Review

In Rye Whiskey Reviews by Steve CoomesLeave a Comment


Did I mention kicking myself for not buying all three bottles on the shelf when I found it 230 miles from home?Steve Coomes
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Michter’s Barrel Strength Rye


NOSE: Stone fruit/cherry  |  bubble gum, graham cracker, cereal  |  whiff of mown grass and sawn lumber, light minerality

TASTE: Loads of brown sugar on entry  |  baking spice at midpalate  |  viscous and oaky all around  |  delicious lingering, mouthcoating sweetness

FINISH: Long, luscious, warm and memorable, leaves me craving another sip. Despite the 113.8 proof, there’s only warmth, no burn. Though reluctant to add water, I did and saw the oak ramp up appreciably and the fruit intensify sharply. Peppermint and meringue come alive. Long after my sip was finished, dried rye comes remains on my palate.

SHARE WITH: Everyone who thinks they don’t like rye, and especially those who do. I placed this bottle on the table in front of a half-dozen chatty guests and said nothing. All poured it, all were amazed, and thankfully all respected my unspoken wishes to leave some for the home team!

WORTH THE PRICE: I paid $79 for my bottle and wound up kicking myself for not buying the other two on the shelf. It’s that good and, at that price, totally giftable for a rye aficionado. There are other and much younger ryes in the market that cost more, and they’re not as good as this—or so say I.

BOTTLE, BAR OR BUST: Bottle all day long, if you can find it, of course. If it’s not robbery at a bar and the bottle is at least half full, get it.

OVERALL: Michter’s master distiller Pam Heilmann calls this, “my favorite Michter’s whiskey.” She’s a real and regular whiskey lady, so it was believable high praise when she said that to me—unsolicited and on multiple occasions—which put me on the hunt for it. Did I mention kicking myself for not buying all three bottles on the shelf when I found it 230 miles from home? I’m a fan of Michter’s Straight Rye Whiskey, but at just 84.8 proof, it’s a minor leaguer compared to its Barrel Strength sibling.

Learn more about Steve’s whiskey preferences and check out more of his reviews…

Since the 1990’s, the Michter’s team has been doing pioneering work to re-establish the high quality American Rye whiskey category. The May 2015 inaugural release of Michter’s US1 Barrel Strength Rye marked yet another milestone in that quest. For maturation, the Rye distillate is entered into the barrel at 103 proof, rather than a more industry standard higher proof. Barrel entry at a lower proof of 103 rather than a higher proof costs Michter’s more money in terms of barrels and warehousing, but we believe it yields a richer, smoother, more full-bodied whiskey after proper maturation. A single barrel product, each barrel of Michter’s US1 Barrel Strength Rye is bottled at its particular alcohol level at the time of bottling. The majority of barrels in the releases range from 107 to 112 proof. To savor it is a unique experience for anyone who enjoys rye whiskey.

  •  Single barrel. Limited quantities.
  • Kentucky
  • 103 Proof
  • Each barrel is bottled at its particular alcohol level at the time of bottling.
  • Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey
  • Fire-charred, new American white oak barrels
  • Butterscotch and cinnamon with a hint of cherries on the nose; warming, rich, toasty vanilla and caramel up front with a dry oaky spice on the finish

About the Author

Steve Coomes

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Steve Coomes is a Louisville restaurant industry veteran turned award-winning food writer. In his 27-year career, he has edited and written for dozens of national trade and consumer publications including Pizza Today, Nation's Restaurant News and Southern Living. As a spirits writer, Steve's byline can be found in Whisky magazine, Bourbon Review, WhiskeyWash.com and other publications. In 2014, he authored the book, "Country Ham: A Southern Tradition of Hogs, Salt & Smoke," and has authored other titles as a private ghostwriter.

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