On the surface one might find this label quite unassuming, but the Bomberger's name is a rich piece of distilling history.
Michter's describes their resurrection of the label which predates their own brand inception on their website saying:
Bomberger’s Declaration Distillery Bourbon honors the legacy of the former distillery known as Bomberger’s in the 1800’s and later as Michter’s in the 20th Century. Please join us in toasting and celebrating American Whiskey History with this outstanding small batch 108 proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.
This 2023 release continues the Bomberger’s tradition of offering bold and beautiful 108 proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon with a rich and layered complexity due to a portion of the bourbon being aged in Chinquapin (Quercus muehlenbergii) oak. The Chinquapin oak utilized for the aging was naturally air dried and seasoned for three years before being toasted and charred to the exacting specifications of our Master of Maturation Andrea Wilson. In addition, some malted rye was used in the production of this bourbon. This is a bold and rich whiskey featuring its signature fruit and spice coupled with rich molasses and a complex, lingering finish that gives you something to savor.
You read that right - 3 years of dry aging on the Chinquapin oak that was used to mature this whiskey. That's what most in the whiskey world would call 'doing things right'. More and more brands in today's saturated market are all too willing to cut corners to achieve production volumes faster. This release is a testament to the old, slow, patient ways of doing things that has produced incredible whiskey for hundreds of years. I won't wax poetic on the history again here, but if you haven't read the bourbon culture write up, you are clearly missing out.
The label gives us a vintage style with simple naming, but layers in a bit of extra detail showing the size of this small batch blend (a meaningless, undefined term in modern bourbon). The bottle I was fortunate to grab is number 552 of the 2506 bottles produced under batch #23E1940. The 23 stands for the year it was released (which is doubly obvious given it states 2023 release directly to the right) and the E represents the month in which it was bottled. The 1940 is just a unique identifier so they don't mix up multiple releases from the same month & year. The Michter's core product neck labels also utilize this nomenclature that I have covered before. Now let's get on with the tasting!
Company on Label: Michter's Distillery
Whiskey Type: Kentucky Whiskey
Mash Bill Percentages: Undisclosed
Further identification: This is bottle 552 of 2506 from batch #23E1940; this years release continues to carry the "Bottled by Michter's Distillery" statement suggesting the whiskey is sourced
Nose: On first raising this to my nose I find classic cherry sweetness up front before waves of candied strawberry, raisin and caramel tones undulate in a rich, vibrant nose-feel. Level, sweet oak tones can be found all throughout this glass with zero traces of anything bitter coming from it. Graham cracker, brown sugar and a sweet medley of spice give this a well rounded profile. Overall the glass is quite sweet and easy to explore. Let's have a sip before continuing on.
Sinking my nose down back into the glencairn before me reveals rich leather and the classic bourbon aromas that made me fall in love with this category of spirit years ago. Soft earthiness ebbs and flows across the boundaries of sweet fruit and creamy vanilla as the glass gets low. The empty glass smells of toffee, raisin and classic bourbon bliss.
Palate: At first sip I get a sweet-tooth shock. Gobs of cherry pour out of this glass and proliferate on the tongue. The mouthfeel is fruit sweet, oily and creamy all throughout. It coats all the surfaces of the mouth with a fine buttercream frosting texture that isn't too overpowering, but very reminiscent of vintage National Distillers whiskey. Another sip amplifies the punchiness of the cherry. I find leather, crème brûlée, strawberry and graham cracker dancing in the glass. Continuing to work through demonstrates even deeper tones of cinnamon, allspice, black pepper, tobacco and nutmeg. This is delicious. Overall the glass is balanced, refined and deep with cohesive complexities around every corner. Working down near the bottom of the glass I find a delicate dessert of strawberries and cream. There's just the right amount of sugary sweetness where it doesn't come across cloying. Nerds candy, plum and raspberry jam finish out a well rounded, delicious dram. The finish is medium to long showing off cranberry orange bread and vanilla bean ice cream. Yum.
TL;DR: Well-made bourbon through and through at just the right sweetness
Kudos to the Michter's team on this one. This is everything that a whiskey lover looks for in a bourbon. It doesn't do things over the top in order to get a wow out of people; this release delivers an exceptionally refined blend of what I can assume are some of Kentucky's finest well-aged stocks.