The legendary release from Michter's Distillery is back for 2022!
We have to admit that rarity sometimes catches a lot of attention. The 2022 release of Michter's 20 year epitomizes that phenomenon with only 592 bottles available for the world. Quality, in my opinion, should always be judged by what is in the bottle, but ultimately packaging can have an effect on your overall experience. I have a portion of that removed presently for this review given I am pouring out of a sample jar (which does not seem to have tainted the whiskey in any way). Regardless I'll do my best to be honest based on what I taste. I normally like to try something 2-3 times before I offer my thoughts to you, oh wonderful reader, but that won't be possible on this one. I hope you understand...
As for how I came by this epic opportunity to taste a ridiculously rare release, my good friend Jordan managed to score one of those bottles and without batting an eye, graciously shared a sample with me. I am grateful for the opportunity to be able to dive into this one with no strings attached & the warm and fuzzies of a wonderful whiskey community that truly makes me feel like I stand on the shoulders of giants at times.
Michter's describes their process for finding barrels fit for this release, saying:
While we regularly sample all our Michter’s barrels to see how our whiskey is aging, we pay even extra special attention to our barrels once they are over 17 years old. At Michter’s we consider 17 to 20 years the “Fork In The Road Point” when certain barrels of whiskey can achieve an extraordinary level of quality. It is these particular barrels that our Master Distiller Dan McKee personally selects for our very limited bottling of Michter’s 20 Year Kentucky Straight Bourbon.
Now let's see how it tastes. Is the juice worth the $1,200 squeeze? I'll leave that for you to decide, but hopefully these tasting notes help you in that regard.
Company on Label: Michter's
Whiskey Type: Kentucky Straight Bourbon
Mash Bill Percentages: Undisclosed
Age: 20 years (minimum, but Michter's has been known to use older stocks than what's on the label)
Further identification: Batch No 22H2517, Bottle 237 of 592
Nose: Rich & inviting from a distance. Lemon forward citrus tones & white lily are both delicate on initially inhaling the air sitting undisturbed in my glencairn. There's a beautiful brightness to the nose here like some vintage pre fire Heaven Hill releases have demonstrated to me. It has that light clay characteristic that screams low barrel entry proof. Cardamom, allspice and creamy vanilla takes me on a sudden ride. Let's have a sip!
Coming back I find funky evergreen sap, cedar, old spice aftershave and a trove of leather clippings. This is such an interesting medley of aromas you just don't find on high volume whiskey production today & not a profile I think I'll ever see replicated again. Nearing the bottom of the glass star fruit and anise begin to bubble up out of the depths of the glass. Old newspapers crumpled up for lighting the cast iron wood stove settle things down. Deep inhales now produce bountiful charred wood like the end of a spent match. The empty glass smells of white linens on a Summers clothesline & strong, fresh tea steaming up into my nostrils. Wow.
Palate: Buttercream frosting and lemon cake jump out at me first. Boozy amaretto and hot chocolate follow, a staple Winter warmer in the Amongst household. Another sip ratchets up the surprisingly subtle oak and spice, bringing in cherry skins, pomegranate and peach preserves. A larger sip and swish produces a nice array of black pepper, pie crust, plum and fig. The linger is fleeting but it does roll in a big Indiana Jones boulder from the tip of the tongue down through the chest with great weight and volume. My last sip is a delicate one as subtle notes of lemon peel, black tea, curry powder and vanilla extract undulate into the annals of my memory.
Just exceptional whiskey. A delicate yet powerfully moving blend that I'm not soon to forget. Now I just wish I could get my hands on a bottle! Cheers folks.