Michter’s is a distillery that’s been making a lot of noise over the last few years, especially recently with the opening of it’s Louisville distillery. Their various bottlings have ranged from standard bourbon, rye, and sour mash whiskey all the way to it’s 25 year old whiskies. A few years ago they also introduced a Toasted Barrel Finished bourbon on a limited run which was met with much fanfare. Essentially they took their matured stocks of whiskey and finished them in a second barrel, for approximately 26 days, that has been toasted - a process in which the barrel is more gently burned (noticeably less than their charred brethren) which allows more vanillin to be released and affects the flavor. With the success of the Toasted Barrel Finish bourbon Michter’s would go on the release both a Toasted Barrel Finish rye and most recently a Toasted Barrel Finish of their straight Kentucky Sour Mash whiskey. I was lucky enough to have a bottle of the bourbon and the sour mash…so how do they stand side by side? Let’s see!
NOSE: Deep vanilla and caramel dominate with a pepper spice in the background, some sweet banana wafts through on deep inhales as well as toasted marshmellow.
PALATE: Burnt brown sugar, vanilla, and a coating caramel. It’s flavorful but not overly viscous. There’s a ton of sweetness coming off this one with even some cotton candy like notes and (as weird as this sounds) grilled banana…yep. Those are popping in and resting primarily on the center palate. Finish is on the shorter side but not unnoticeable.
OVERALL: This is a very pleasant sip and if you like sweet your in for a treat. This release takes the sweetest parts of classic bourbon notes and turns them up several notches. The toasting of the second barrel absolutely shines in this release.
TOASTED AMERICAN WHISKEY:
NOSE: Leather and black pepper roll in first. Burnt caramel is there but subtly underneath. The toasted banana comes through strong as well as some of the spice dissapates. Some light cherries dance underneath it all.
PALATE: The vanilla bomb drops again. This time complimented with nice layered spices and a big banana blast as well. Banana all over. The leather joins in and makes an almost spicy apple pie taste come to get front. The finish here takes it’s time more than it’s bourbon brother and reveals dried apple and brown sugar.
OVERALL: A lot of similar notes jump out as compared to the Toasted Bourbon but this one adds some layers and depth of spice that the previous option didn’t.
SIDE BY SIDE: These two finished releases from Michter’s both provide the drinker with a more nuanced and, in many ways, sweeter version of their standard products. In the end the sour mash whiskey seems to have some more maturity and layers to it while the bourbon is definitely in the sweeter realm. That being said there’s a lot we don’t definitively know including the source of either whiskey, the mash bills, or the age of either stock. However, both provide an elevated drinking experience to the standard shelf offering and if found at the retail price of around $50-$60 is a surefire buy if you see it! Cheers!