Michter’s 10 y.o. Bourbon Review (2021 Release)

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With strong ties to a distilling legacy spanning 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 facilities 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 Dan McKee, Master Distiller Emeritus 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.

Released under phase 1 of resurrecting the Michter’s brand in Kentucky, Michter’s 10 year old bourbon is a single barrel offering featuring sourced product from an unknown KY distillery. Originally released to showcase Michter’s commitment to quality, the consistent annual release a 10+ year old Kentucky straight bourbon has proven widely popular and very sought after. Where exactly the whiskey comes from has long been a topic of speculation and there was even talk of early releases containing Stitzel Weller bourbon and 18+ year old bourbon. Michter’s response to these rumours has always been that despite NDAs preventing them from disclosing their sources, the 10 year old age statement on the label is simply the youngest whiskey they would bottle as opposed to an exact age statement.

Today I’ll be taking a look at the 2021 release of Michter’s 10 year old bourbon that hit the US market somewhere around late May. This year’s release is the second time we get to try a bottling of Michter’s 10 year old bourbon which has been produced under the watchful eye of Master Distiller Dan McKee. Dan has held the reins of Master Distiller at Michter’s for just over two years now and with over a decade of experience working with the previous Master Distiller under his belt before he assumed this role, I would imagine Dan was eager to follow the success of last year’s release.

Vital Stats:

Name: Michter’s 10 Year Kentucky Straight Bourbon (Barrel #L21E1542)
Age: 10 years old minimum (rumoured to be just shy of 15 years old this year)
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 sweet macerated strawberries and black cherries, deep maple syrup moving towards butterscotch, toasted almond flakes, white pepper, and baking spices including nutmeg, a touch of cinnamon, and cloves. As you nose deeper the flavours concentrate and the influence of the barrel asserts itself with herbaceous charred oak emerging alongside thick butterscotch and more rich forest fruit notes.

Palate: The palate opens with fresh red and black fruit stewing in butterscotch-heavy maple syrup, and dusted with powdered sugar. This sweetness is short-lived and quickly replaced by tart red fruit, mint-forward charred oak, roasted almonds, and a kick of peppery rye spice. Once the rye spice fades the palate returns to a fruit-forward profile with tart bourbon-soaked cherries, a touch of cinnamon, faint toasted oak, citrus peel, and old minty charred oak.

Finish: The finish opens with a touch of residual rye spice, red fruits, herbaceous old oak, and baking spices before fading into an aftertaste of old oak, roasted nuts, and dried red fruit.

Overall 

Michter’s 10y.o. bourbon is one of the stand-out releases of limited edition bourbon each year for me, and since Dan McKee has taken the reigns he has demonstrated a dedication to a bigger, bolder release each year. For the second year in a row, fans have been given a delicious layered bourbon that has added everything: thick maple syrup, heavy macerated fruit notes, earthy spices, and a herbaceous oak profile typical of much older age-stated releases. It takes a classic bourbon profile at a near-perfect proof and fine tunes it to produce a quintessential drinking experience. Add old herbaceous oak to this mix and you have a perfect balance between sweet butterscotch, earthy spices, fresh and tart fruit, and bitter barrel notes in my opinion. I believe this is older than what the label states and as I sip this I get a brief foreshadowing of Michter’s 20y.o. bourbon, old charred herbaceous oak balanced with layers of brown sugar bordering on butterscotch, giving no burn or overwhelming flavours, just a depth and intensity you cannot fake. If this were a small batch I’d argue they had snuck in a 16 or 18 year old barrel to achieve those bitter yet herbaceous oak notes, however, as a single barrel their presence is easily explained: old stock. Last year, rumours placed the 10y.o. release closer to the 14y.o. age range and the overall profile was packed with notes consistent with this. When compared to the 2020, however, the 2021 tastes older again with added depth on the maple-syrup notes, macerated red and black fruit notes, and a herbaceous charred oak note that lingers on the tongue and is reminiscent of something in the 15 – 18 y.o. age range.

This year’s release gives a decadent and layered sipping experience I’d recommend to anyone that has grown tired with the inconsistent releases from other distilleries. With it’s deep flavours, a great proof, and complexity (with no harsh afterburn), this one’s a winner.

Try or Buy?

This year’s release clocks in with an SRP of $150 and at this price it has to be a try before you buy from me as it passes the $100 limit. But as you can tell, it’s well worth it in my books.

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Before you go…

Before you go…

Before you go…

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Your contribution is appreciated and will ensure I can keep this website impartial, operational, and stocked full of new content. Cheers!

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