Whiskey Review: Michter’s US*1 Toasted Barrel Sour Mash Whiskey

, | February 22, 2023

Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by the party behind it. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link in this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.

Michter’s has a long whiskey history that was saved in the 1990s. While I was once tasting at their Fort Nelson building on Whiskey Row in downtown Louisville, I was thoroughly impressed with their whiskey-making process

Michter’s whiskeys all start with the barrels, especially when it comes to the Toasted Barrel Finish. Each stave is dried between 18 to 48 months to reduce tannins in the wood. Once the barrel is put together, it goes through the toasting process. Some may think that toasting does not really matter if the barrel is charred, but the thin red line that forms from toasting is a sign of caramelized wood sugars. When the alcohol is moving through the wood during contraction and expansion, it picks up these concentrated flavors.

Usually in the industry, bourbon goes in the barrel at 125 proof, but Michter’s breaks with typical and chooses a low proof entry of 103. This also helps that thin red line of wood sugar and char to dissolve more quickly. Michter’s has also got heat cycling down to an art, which is rare due to the whopping cost. However, by forcing the whiskey to weave in and out of the wood with a flip of a thermostat, the whiskey is imparted with more flavor. 

If you have not sensed a theme here, the end goal of Michter’s is to create incredibly flavorful whiskey. The Toasted Barrel Finish is part of the distillery’s limited releases and sour mash style. This simply means leftover wash in the still mixes with new wash for another distillation run, so do not fret, the whiskey will not taste like sourdough bread. So let’s see how all the toasted and caramelized sugars develop into this second ever release of Michter’s Toasted Barrel Finish (the first being in 2019). 

US*1 Toasted Barrel Sour Mash Whiskey review

We review Michter’s US*1 Toasted Barrel Sour Mash Whiskey, fully mature whiskey transferred into specially toasted barrels for additional aging. (image via Michter’s)

Tasting Notes: US*1 Toasted Barrel Sour Mash Whiskey

Vital Stats: 43% ABV, 86 proof. Sour mash Kentucky whiskey matured in charred new American oak and toasted 18-month-old airdried barrels. Chill-filtered. 750ml $100.

Appearance: Medium amber

Nose: Green apple starts off the nose with bold brightness. Raisin with a little bran flake mingles with lemon verbena. It almost reminds me of fresh sugar cookies topped with lemon frosting. The nose is also sweet with candied orange peel. Oak keeps steady through the nose, but overall the whiskey is very fruity and biscuity. 

Palate: The green apple from the nose is joined by crisp red apple. There is a lot of baking spice but mostly nutmeg over cinnamon. The sweetness is heavy with brown sugar and drinks similar to rum. Lemon and orange zest mingle with citrus oil for a nice brightness. Flakey pie crust comes to mind with every sip, and combined with the apple, it is just classic.

Whiskey Review: Michter's US*1 Toasted Barrel Sour Mash Whiskey
4

Summart

As a devourer of pie, the 2022 Michter’s Toasted Barrel is like drinking pie in a glass. The sugars from the toasted barrel do sweeten the bourbon, but even though the whiskey is not tannic, the oak dries my palate too much. The proof is just right giving a velvety mouthfeel. I may selfishly keep this bottle to myself.

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Courtney Kristjana

Courtney Kristjana is a leading whiskey taster in the country. She left a career in Gerontology after an article on Heather Greene inspired her to follow her passion for whiskey. She is studying to become a Master of Scotch and someday hopes she is nominated for the Keepers of the...