By Kurt Maitland
Updated January 29, 2015
This release is the product of the extra aging of the Michter’s standard bourbon release. Essentially the standard release is matured as normal, before being transferred for an additional period of aging to custom made “toasted” barrels, made from wood staves that have been cured by 18 months of air-drying.
While air drying for such a lengthy period of time is common in the wine industry, it is only in recent years that staves dried in this way have come into use with American whiskey-making. The toasting technique is designed to agitate the cellulose in the wood and force more vanilla and cinnamon flavors to the end of the wood staves without increasing the oaky flavors that come from charring. After this aging and finishing, the bourbon is bottled at 45.7% (91.4 proof).
Color: Dark copper
Nose: Carmel, Tiramisu, Floral notes and some vanilla oakiness.
Taste: Quite different than the nose would lead you to believe. I found vanilla, oak with a hint of Sweet Tart candy that turns into a surprisingly spicy cinnamon finish. The toasted barrel didn’t totally eliminate the presence of oak but it definitely increased the cinnamon flavors from what can be found in Michter’s standard bourbon release. The mouthfeel is full-flavored with a slightly dry, cinnamon spicy feel.
Finish: Long cinnamon finish. The end of this lingers for a long time. Reminds me of the gums I used to love when I was a kid.
What I like about this release is that it stands between the standard release and the 10 Year as its own creature. The standard and the 10 Year are sweeter but the sweet, spicy cinnamon makes this release unique in Michter’s stable and intrigues me as to what other interesting things can come from this toasted barrel process.
Addendum by Richard Thomas
In the glass, the bourbon has a bright, clear amber appearance. The floral nose carries a hefty dollop of sweet vanilla and caramel, placing it firmly within the oak-drawn flavors zone, but without being overtly woody. I also found the flavor to have a distinctly candy character, like a whiskeyed candy corn really. Very caramel and very corn sweet in a medium-light body. The tingle of cookie spice on the palate unrolls into the finish, which has a light, but lasting touch.
The Michter’s Toasted Barrel Finish should run around $48 a bottle, but as it is a limited release expect some variance.