Today we have a Kentucky-only release: Michter's Barrel Strength Bourbon. You may recognize the above image if you follow the Michter's instagram account. I happened to get lucky being in the right place at the right time the last time I visited the great Commonwealth. As usual, I've triangulated a minimum of 3 experiences total before sitting down and giving this a proper rating and review.
Let's not fuss too long on this one, you're probably here to learn if this one is worth tracking down. On to the whiskey!
Company on Label: Michter's Distillery
Whiskey Type: Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Mash Bill Percentages: Undisclosed
Further identification: Barrel No 23D1143 is listed on the label wrapped around the front of the neck of the bottle; there is a "bottled by Michter's Distillery" distinction listed on the back label suggesting this is a sourced barrel, though there's apparently no way to tell without being on the Michter's team
Nose: Rich leather aromas leap out of the glass as soon as I raise it to my nose. Candied cherry, bright linen and level oak suggest plenty of age is behind this. After a bit of time in the glass I begin to find aromas of an inviting candle one might burn around Christmas time. Touches of nutmeg, allspice, black pepper, and balsam fir create a really interesting medley for a bourbon. This feels very much off-brand for Michter's, but that's part of the ephemeral beauty of whiskey - it doesn't all have to be the same every time. Wow, suddenly everything softens on an exceptionally deep inhale. The remaining smells in the glass have eased into pools of sweet vanilla with the backdrop of a busy woodshop. Overall there's many, many layers of oak to explore here. Fans of classic barrel funk will be quite pleased here.
Palate: My first sip is sweet forward, leading with maraschino cherry and aperol. Another sip is more delicate than the first with hints of light & tangy lemongrass, honeysuckle and just a hint of limoncello. Boozy grappa, raisin and plum layer in nicely. The mouthfeel is sticky sweet akin to eating a modjeska. Little change develops over the course of the glass with soft red fruit, punches of booziness, and sticky caramel tones being the highlight of the consistently delicious sip. Chewing on this a bit highlights the hefty oak characteristics alongside graham cracker, cinnamon and black treacle. My last sip is highlighted by sweet cherry, lemon frosting and a long smoldering finish of spiced molasses.
I dig it. I think I prefer their barrel strength rye release a touch more (thankfully, that one I can find up here in MA), but this is certainly one I'm glad to have on my shelf for sharing with friends and family who visit the whiskey study. Cheers folks!