- DISTILLER: Michter's Distillery
- MASH BILL: Undisclosed
- AGE: No Age Stated
- YEAR: 2023
- PROOF: 109.4 (my sample)
- MSRP: $120
- BUY ONLINE: Michter's Online Selector
SHARE WITH: Toasted barrel lovers. And as Steve has said in past reviews, those who think they don't like rye whiskey. While these releases often have universal appeal, the 2023 offering in particular, will be popular with bourbon and rye lovers alike.
WORTH THE PRICE: Worth MSRP and probably even a respectable markup. Unfortunately, these releases are being priced more and more like the age-stated single barrels, making them a harder proposition for drinkers (but probably less so for collectors).
BOTTLE, BAR OR BUST: Bottle and bar. If you can pick this one up for anywhere close to retail, add it to your collection and savor it. If you live in a particularly whiskey-crazy part of the country (which by now is most parts), find a respectable watering hole and get friendly with the bartender.
OVERALL: I had the privilege of tasting this latest Toasted Barrel Finish Rye a bit earlier than most at the Kentucky Bourbon Festival last month with Michter's Master of Maturation Andrea Wilson and Master Distiller Dan McKee, two of the friendliest and most knowledgeable people in the bourbon industry. We talked at length about the care and attention that goes into every level of production, but in particular, their barrel program, which relies on staves air-dried for as much as 48 months.
Michter's actually started the whole toasted finish craze back in 2014, but it wasn't until 2017 that the first toasted rye came along. With this latest release, Michter's has kept to three-year intervals (the second release hit shelves in 2020). That's kind of a long time to wait for what is probably the distillery's best special toasted barrel finish expression, and this latest release is perhaps the best Toasted Rye yet.
The aroma is, as advertised, toasty and wood-driven, with notes of warm pumpernickel bread and chocolate shavings. It's not the burly, barrel char of a lot of toasted expressions, however, with a nice nuance to the oak profile showcased in notes of sandalwood and incense. There's a lacing of chocolate mint throughout, but the aroma is not nearly as green or herbal as some previous releases. The palate is rich and peppery with dark baking spices, quite a bit of red pepper flakes, treacle, and green notes of muddled mint and sage. Again, the rye spice isn't quite as herbaceous as past Toasted Rye releases, yielding more to baking spice and oak with notes of tea leaves and clove syrup. The finish is round and long with warming notes of black pepper and Andes mints.
- PRODUCTION: Limited release
- STATE OF DISTILLATION: Kentucky
- WHISKEY TYPE: Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey
- COOPERAGE: First Barrel: Fire-charred, new American white oak barrels
Second Barrel: Toasted barrel made from 24-month air-dried wood
- BARRELING STRENGTH: 103 Proof
- BOTTLING STRENGTH: Each barrel is bottled at its particular alcohol level at the time of bottling. The average strength of the barrels in the September 2023 release is 108.9 proof.
- TASTING NOTES: A nose brimming with toffee, honey, black walnut, and a bit of campfire gives way to a decadent taste experience featuring dark chocolate, salted caramel, cherry and mint with pronounced spice balanced by rounded oak on the finish.
Disclaimer: Bourbon & Banter received a sample of this product from the brand for review. We appreciate their willingness to allow us to review their products without strings attached. Thank you.