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  • Writer's pictureJoseph Bourbon

Michter's US*1 American Whiskey

Michter's whose brands - especially the 10-year and 20-year releases - have been award winning. Today we take a look at the mystique around this historic brand as we sample Michter's US*1 American Whiskey.

America's First Distillery? Whiskey brands are full of tale and lore, some of which has tendrils of truth woven in the story. If you search for Michter's Distillery on the internet, chances are you'll find Bomberger's Distillery in southeastern Pennsylvania. In poor condition and no longer an operating distillery (it closed in 1989), its brands at one time included the Bomberger and Michter's line.The distillery, now on a U.S. National Historic Landmark, has buildings dating to around 1840, but historic documents place spirit production at the site as early as 1753. Today's Michter's brand can be traced to 2004 where bourbons, ryes, and whiskeys have been owned by Chatham's Imports. Over the years, production of this storied brand has often been attributed to Brown-Forman at its Shively, Kentucky facility. In 2013, Michter's opened its own plant in Shively, and in 2019, opened its signature customer experience center at the Fort Nelson Building at the end of Whiskey Row in Downtown Louisville.

The Tasting This whiskey is labeled as an "unblended American whiskey". It is classified as a whiskey - and not a bourbon - as, similar to some of the Early Times expressions, it uses "whiskey-soaked barrels" (meaning used - not exclusively new oak barrels) to achieve its flavor profile. Further, the "unblended" aspect indicates that there no grain neutral spirits added to this whiskey (something that was popular to do decades ago when "lighter whiskeys" were produced). The mash bill is undisclosed. It is bottled at a low 83.4 proof. This particular bottle was from batch number 21L3323. Eye: Light amber with a lacework of short thin legs displayed in my Kentucky Bourbon Trail tasting glass. Nose: Brown sugar, Whoppers candy (malted milk chocolate balls), butterscotch nougat, and candied orange peel. I was somewhat surprised how good the nose is, considering it was aged in used bourbon barrels. Palate: Light, with chamomile tea, toasted wood, sweet grains and citrus. The palate is much lighter than the nose.

Finish: Medium-short with toasted oak, spice, and vanilla. Overall: Priced around $40, this wasn't a bad pour. It was inoffensive, but also not extraordinary. Michter's is a storied brand, with some great legends in its historic background. As a whiskey, this was fine, but somewhat uninspiring. I'd love to know the actual age of the spirits here, as there is not even a "straight whiskey" designation. At this price point, you could easily secure bourbons with a more varied profile, such as Four Roses Single Barrel, a bottle of Russell's Reserve that exhibits a 10-year age statement, or one of the Bottled-in-Bond products from New Riff.

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