Michter’s 10 y.o Bourbon Review (2018 Release)

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With strong ties to a distilling legacy that spans over 250 years, the Michter’s Distillery in Louisville, KY, has been producing a comprehensive range of award-winning American whiskies since the brand was resurrected by Company President Joseph Magliocco in the 1990’s. Now distilling in their own facility since August of 2015, the Michter’s brand has seen a quick return to global recognition for the quality of both their own and their sourced whiskies under Master Distiller Pam Heilmann – the first woman to serve as a Master Distiller at a Kentucky Distiller’s Association distillery since prohibition, and Master of Maturation Andrea Wilson – the first woman to ever serve as Chair of the Kentucky Distillers Association. The Michter’s core range of whiskies, which are bottled under their popular US☆1 line, consists of their small batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon, their single-barrel Kentucky Straight Rye, their small batch Unblended American Whiskey, their small batch Original Sour Mash American Whiskey, and several limited edition variations of these. Their age –stated whiskies, which are bottled under their 10 year old, 20 year old, and 25 year old labels consist of straight Kentucky bourbon and rye whiskey which come from sourced stocks and are released on a ‘when-ready’ basis to eager fans.

Michter’s 10 year bourbon, along with their 10 year rye, were the first whiskies released by Michter’s under phase 1 of resurrecting the brand in Kentucky. Featuring sourced product from an unknown KY source, Michter’s wanted, and continue to, show both novice and dedicated bourbon drinkers that they mean business by releasing a consistent 10+ year old Kentucky straight bourbon on an annual basis. Where the whiskey comes from has long been a topic of speculation and in early years there was talk of releases containing Stitzel Weller bourbon and 18+ year old bourbon. Michter’s response to these rumours has always been that although NDAs are preventing them from divulging their sources, the 10 year old age statement is simply the youngest whiskey they would bottle as opposed to an exact age statement. Recently, with Master Distiller Pam Heilmann taking the reins, and stocks from places like Stitzel Weller being understandably no longer available, the offerings have become more consistent in terms of flavour profile and probably source. Previously I’ve reviewed the 2015 release of this bourbon, but today I will be taking a look at the 2018 release – which is my first taste of this product since Pam has become Master Distiller.

Image courtesy of Intrepid Spirits

This whiskey was recently launched in Ireland via the good folks at Intrepid Spirits who kindly provided me with a small review sample. Albeit appreciated this has had no effect on the following review. Please read my sample policy for more info.

Vital Stats:

Name: Michter’s 10 Year Kentucky Straight Bourbon
Age: 10 years old (minimum)
Proof: 94.4 proof (47.2% ABV)
Type: Kentucky Straight Bourbon whiskey
Mashbill: Undisclosed (At least 51% corn)
Producer: Michter’s Distillery, Louisville, KY (Sourced from undisclosed distillery)
Website:
https://michters.com/whiskey/10-year-kentucky-straight-bourbon/
Glassware: Glencairn

Review

Nose: The nose opens complex with deep caramel, earthy white pepper, red fruit, dark cherries, baking spices, herbaceous barrel smoke, and a hint of toasted oak.

Palate: The palate is viscous, opening with earthy caramelised nuts, dark cherries, earthy rye spice, baking spices, faint dark chocolate, and slightly bitter old herbaceous oak in the back.

Finish: The finish opens with a kick of spice followed by burnt caramelized nuts, faint red fruit, tannic oak smoke and a herbaceous spicy aftertaste of old oak, dark chocolate, and dark cherries.

Overall 

This is a truly delicious bourbon and it’s no surprise. In my experience Michter’s 10 year bourbon has always been a solid whiskey that hits many of the classic bourbon notes whilst adding its own complex depth of flavour – and this year’s release is no exception. It’s heavy and packed with tonnes of flavours that wash thick layers of complexity over your palate and leave you wanting more. The earthy spice throughout also makes me think this year’s release is a high rye bourbon (>15%) and this advantage has been used to full. All that earthy and peppery spice drives up the intensity of the remaining flavours and has given an added level of oomph overall. Another welcome note was the wonderful black cherry/red fruit note to this year’s release that wasn’t as noticeable in the previous releases that I’ve tasted. Drinking this I’m not even sure it’s as young as 10 years old with the balance and interplay between the flavours suggesting something closer to 12-15 years old.

My first experience of Michter’s premium age-stated bourbons was the 2015 release of Michter’s 10 year bourbon and it’s great to see that the level of quality hasn’t faltered, despite a growing demand for distilleries to produce a greater quantity of limited release products every year. Michter’s have always promised their fans that their releases will never be sub-par and it’s great to taste the fruits of this promise. What their team has achieved in this release is another great bourbon and I’m excited for what the future holds for this release. To date I’ve missed buying a bottle of the 2017 and 2018 releases of this bourbon and after tasting this regret has truly sunk in.

Try or Buy?

This is another Michter’s release that (tariffs included) hit Irish shores with a retail price of €150+. Therefore, I would highly recommend that anyone considering to buy try and seek out a taste from a bar, friend, or elsewhere first. That being said I’ve never paid less than €150 for a bottle this (even back in 2016) and have always found it to be money very well spent.

For Irish fans still looking for a bottle I’ve only seen this in L. Mulligans Whiskey Shop but that’s not to say it’s not available elsewhere by now. If you’re still struggling to find a bottle looking in the UK might prove more fruitful.

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