Origin: Kentucky (USA)
Type: American Bourbon Whiskey
Ageing barrels: Charred American Oak
Added coloring: No
Owner: Chatham Imports
Average price: € 67.00
Official website: michters.com/
The origins of this distillery go back as far as 1753, when the first records of distillation are found in what was to become Shenk’s headquarters, near Schaefferstown in Pennsylvania, where John and Michael Shenk (of Swiss origin) began producing rye whiskey.
Abraham Bomberger took over almost a century later, in 1860, adding his name to the brand and maintaining ownership until Prohibition, after which the company underwent several changes of hands until the 1950s when, under the leadership of Louis Forman, an old-fashioned pot-still mash premium whiskey was created, named Michter’s Original Sour Mash Whiskey (the name is a mix between the names of his sons, Michael and Peter).
The distillery experienced mixed fortunes until it closed in 1989 due to bankruptcy, with the plant abandoned and dilapidated.
The brand was resurrected by Chatman Imports in 2004, at the behest of Joseph J. Magliocco and Richard Newman, who brought production to Louisville, building a considerable reputation around this rediscovered name, with three plants currently in operation.
Sour mash is the residue left in the vats after fermentation, to which the new product is added for ease of processing and to maintain a constant pH, a common practice in the USA. It differs from the sweet mash where everything is cleaned up after each processing, increasing timings and cost.
Dark amber in the glass.
Spicy and mellifluous, the nose is a drip of maple syrup with pine needles and hints of menthol, nutmeg, caramelised popcorn, a faint whiff of acetone in the background. Opulent and sticky but not too pandering.
A refreshing balsamic note also appears on the palate, somewhat bizarre, surrounding a heart of pulpy citrus pepper, caramel, vanilla bean, liquorice root, almonds. Again a bitter whiff in the background, from bitter herbs, which balances and unbalances the colours of the whiskey.
The finish is quite long, bitter and balsamic, with citrus, almonds, cinnamon and caramel.
Unusual, unbalanced, unpredictable, fun… it may not be the dram of the century but it knows how to entertain without boring, a variation on the theme of bourbon to try.
Reviews of Michter’s whiskey in the blog:
Michter’s US*1 Rye Whiskey Barrel Strength