Whiskey Review: Michter's 10-Year Rye (2018) - The Whiskey Wash

Whiskey Review: Michter’s 10-Year Rye (2018)

Michter’s, like many of the big American whiskey names, has a long history. We will summarize it here for you (more information can be found here). Originally, the Bomberger’s Distillery in Pennsylvania began distilling rye back in 1753. After prohibition and a couple changes of ownership, Michter’s purchased the distillery in 1978 until it filed for bankruptcy in 1989. In 1997, after the distillery and intellectual property were abandoned, Chatham Imports out of New York City trademarked the name and assumed the great history of this longstanding brand.

When Chatham Imports began selling Michter’s, they were using sourced whiskey because the original Bomberger’s Distillery was (and is) no longer operational. By selecting excellent whiskey from key distilleries in Kentucky, the team behind President Joseph J. Magliocco were able to establish a fantastic reputation for quality whiskey.

However, the future is what’s most interesting at this point. In 2015 the new Michter’s Distillery began producing new make spirit. The distillery is located in Louisville, Kentucky, and is led by Pamela Heilmann, who previously oversaw the Booker Noe Distillery, one of the biggest producers in the world. After a great (new) start for the Michter’s name under Magliocco, this new distillery carries the potential to make some of the best whiskey on the market.

This 10-year straight rye whiskey is the first released in over a year. Last year’s was very well reviewed, and this one is just as exciting. Since this is going to be a sourced barrel, it is a good representation of the quality that they are working with in their batches. At their new facility, their batches are a maximum of 24 20 barrels, which is a much smaller batch than many of the ‘small batch’ whiskies available. They also dilute before adding to the barrel rather than after, helping with the big flavor of the resulting product.

Closely monitored barrel production, 100% copper stills, proper grain sourcing, and temperature controlled aging all make it seem that no shortcuts are taken. They have a quote on their website that claims “Cost Be Damned!” This all contributes to why the Michter’s line, which includes four core items plus many special or limited releases, is gaining love and attention in the whiskey world.

Michter's 10-Year Rye (2018)

Michter’s 10-Year Rye (2018) (image via Cameron Holck/The Whiskey Wash)

Tasting Notes: Michter’s 10-Year Rye (2018)

Vital Stats: Barrel No. 18E559. 10 year straight rye whiskey. 46.4% ABV, $160 for 750ml.

Appearance: Deep fossilized amber. Beautiful and glowing.

Nose: Tantalizingly sweet from afar, then boozy and rich as you get near. Roasted fruit-like nuttiness with a pleasant sour smoke undertone. Lemon and orange peel help brighten it, making it round and inviting.

Palate: Flavor and pleasant heat are initially slightly overwhelming, but the second sip wakes up the palate and nuances emerge. Baking spices like vanilla and cocoa bean are evident. Similar to the nose, a fruit-like quality comes through, but with vegetal toasted almonds. Big and mouth coating, it is incredibly easy to sip. Caramel transitions into butterscotch on the long finish.

The Takeaway

This is a big and bold rye whiskey that packs a mouth-full of flavor. While there are a lot of complexities tugging at each other, they're all in balance. It is a very tuned expression that represents how excellent rye whiskey can be if care is taken in each step of the process. It also provides for anticipation as Michter's continues to grow and produce their own new make.

We'll likely see more Michter's releases like this in the future once they build up their own whiskey stockpiles. The price point is a bit steep, but given the small quantity and attention to detail that goes into this bottle, it is well worth a special occasion.

User Rating 2.98 (42 votes)