My my, it's been 3 long years since this version of the Michter's toasted barrel trifecta has graced our shelves. I have enjoyed more than a few pours of the 2019 release and remember liking it a lot. When I reviewed a sample of the 2019 release it ended up not quite delivering what I remembered, which is a bit of a hallmark of the toasted barrel line for me. I had a decent enough time sharing a pour with a friend the day I got it, where I wagered a few early tasting notes for the curious minds.
Nose: Thin, oaky butterscotch upfront. Vanilla oatmeal cookies. Big, rumbly cinnamon spice begins to simmer. Chocolate wafers. For sure there is a pleasant punch of a plethora of oak.
Post sip there’s a tannic grape, anise and a nice medley of baking spices. The oak prevalence is definitely unavoidable but not drying. The nose doesn’t quite keep up with the palate in quality and relevance. The empty glass smells of smoked chocolate and raspberry tart.
Palate: I was not expecting this to be so sweet! I get a soft candied cherry very traditional of Michter’s releases. Another sip and swish reveals the creamy textures of buttermilk and vanilla frosting. The linger sits on the top of the tongue really well. Grape and lavender sneaks in in little honey sweet bursts. The mouth coating can’t be understated; the caramel and vanilla tones just stick in your mouth. Overall quite sweet with bakery goodness throughout. My last sip is a delight with confectioners sugar, funnel cake and Samoa cookies.
I love seeing how well my day-to-day notes compare so I am going to only re-read my first thoughts after I've finished writing my full review below. Now let's dive in!
Company on Label: Michter's
Whiskey Type: Kentucky Whiskey
Mash Bill Percentages: Undisclosed (originally a 45% Corn, 45% Rye, 10% Barley mash bill, but it has since been changed)
Further identification: Barrel No 22G2238
Nose: Creamy and incredibly sugary sweet on the initial nose. Molasses and confectioners sugar mingle well in a powdery ball. Dark, moist oak sits right in the center of this glass. It smells like a well-seasoned wood pile where bark is falling off and collecting wood beatles in the soft earth. I associate it with an acute Fall smell because of that wood pile & moist earth aroma. Incredibly soft cinnamon trickles into my nostrils. Nutmeg, clove and orange peel burst onto the scene. Deep barrel funk suggesting 8 year or beyond whiskey. Smokey chocolate tones begin to churn in moody bellows. Plum attempts to peak out from behind the funk at times. Time for a sip!
Wow the molasses has really strengthened with a sip. Butter builds well later in the glass alongside sugar cookie. I find grilled english muffin notes that are delectable (melting butter is one of my favorite smells in the world). The barrel funk returns again really suggesting some age is present here. There's touches of soft, oiled leather. I get some really old Indiana vibes here. Overall there's a rich malty characteristic that makes the nose feel silky and soft. My, my... the rich butter notes are really a treat here. I could nose this forever. The empty glass smells of a brick baking oven, ripe grapes, and oatmeal with all the fixin's.
Palate: Mmm. Sugar. Brown sugar. Cinnamon. A caramel coated rim of a beer glass. Decadently sweet & powerfully so. What a treat of a first sip of the day. It's like having just one spoonful of ice cream out of the freezer; it's just enough to satisfy without going overboard. The linger is laced with chocolate wafers. A second sip reveals fruit: cherry, raisin and bright red raspberry. The palate is bright and tingly with hints of mint tea and floral tones like lavender and jasmine. Crème brûlée sweetness continues to build and build in intensity. I find whipped cream atop sugared strawberries and lady fingers. Overall this is such a light, bready delight. A bigger sip and swish reveals the sweet plum and cherry while a dash of bitters manages to flash up more sweet cinnamon. My last sip shows off a blast of orange peel, tart grape, soft tiramisu and just a light slap of nutmeg atop the tongue. Layered, decadent and delicious - this does what very few can accomplish at 86 proof. Yum. The finish & linger length and intensity are the only points that suffer and only marginally so. There's still a nice, airy wedding cake flavor that persists long enough for your nose to have a buffet of rich desserts.
The nose from my first tasting seems to be much improved. On the palate notes I think I was saying much of the same things just in simpler terms on my first impressions. Based on this change in experiences I would definitely recommend everyone give this at least two tries before drawing conclusions. This would pair incredibly well with dessert as a first pour of the day. I like this more than I remembered on first opening. I think fans of the 2019 release may find this one to be quite different, though I think it is for the better personally. Great job with this release Michter's.