Review : Michter’s US 1 Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

As I continue my drive into the world of Bourbon, for this review I swerved by one of the oldest distilleries in the US, one with history that goes all the way back until 1753. Unfortunately the Shenk’s distillery as like many, traded through several hands, changed names, and shut shop from time to time.  The distillery situated at Pennsylvania’s blue mountain valley initially began brewing whiskey using rye, the local grain at the time. A grain that has once again gained  popularity.

And it was again during the mid 1800s that both owner and name changed to Bomberger’s. Michter’s became the name all but recently; and it was during the 1950s that the Michter’s Original Sour Mash Whiskey was construed by Louis Foreman and Charles Beam. Both expression and distillery might seem a bit off, but its origins spawn from a well blended fusion, named after Louis’ children – Michael and Peter.

Michter’s US No 1 is a small batch whiskey, made from 79% corn, 11% rye and 10% malted barley, the latter usually added to aid in the fermentation process, breaking starch to sugar. The new make, once distilled is poured into virgin white oak American barrels at an ABV of 51.5%, a delta from the industry standard of 62.5%. The deviation as per the distillery, allows for better absorption of some of those wood influenced flavours, lending the whiskey a better mouth feel and rounded character. The distillate is chill filtered but certainly not artificially coloured, the latter a mandate if it were to be a Bourbon.

ABV : 45.7%

Eye : Tawny | Non Chill Filtered, Natural Colouring

Nose : Subtle yet lush waves of burnt butter, toasted oak and caramel are interleaved by chards of cinnamon sticks and rye. Fruity nuances, plums, dark sultanas, cherries with hints of red apples are accompanied with a pinch of white pepper and black licorice.

Taste : Caramel, oak and cinnamon sticks;  with the sweetness of maple syrup drizzled over glazed cherries and thinly sliced honeydew. Soft, yet an alluding spice trail of pepper, cardamom, cumin and licorice is left on the palate in the midst of all the sweetness.

Finish : Medium to long | Black licorice and cardamom accompanied by the sweetness of caramel and toasted oak.

Light bodied, yet vibrant on the palate; the whisky is fusion of nuances – floral, sweet, fruity and spicy. An aperitif that comes with a blanket of warmth and a pinch of spice that is both welcoming and appeasing. A medium to long finish trailing with a licorice like after taste gives the concoction bonus points while also lending the whisky more depth.

At around AUD $110, this one’s not cheap, and for a novice Bourbon-er who is yet to wrap his head around this juice, the price does seem to be a bit of an overkill. While certainly NOT a bad whiskey, it does seem to squeeze the wallet a bit more, being less VFM. If you have money to spare, sure why not, sip and tell! Let me know how you felt this one to be?

Preference: Neat, ice or even as a cocktail!



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