“It’s not what you have a look at that issues, it’s what you see.” – Henry David Thoreau
Allow me to say upfront that the ten yr outdated expressions from Michter’s have usually been a few of my favorites from the model. Positive, I are likely to completely take pleasure in what they accomplish at a decrease proof and so restricted expressions like their Toasted End Bitter Mash have definitely earned a spot in my coronary heart.
Nevertheless, whereas many individuals are likely to give attention to their completed merchandise or certainly their barrel power choices, I’ve all the time been one for his or her beguiling 10-year age said expressions. Michter’s 10 12 months bourbon particularly was all the time one I felt was misprized within the wider American whiskey panorama, and so I used to be amongst these saddened to listen to that it wouldn’t be seeing a launch in 2022. Fortuitously for us whiskey lovers we didn’t need to go with out its rye-based brother this yr, and so I’m pleased to be reviewing the 2022 Michter’s 10 12 months Single Barrel Rye at this time.
As the only real 10-year expression to be launched from Michter’s this yr, my hopes are excessive that it will likely be a standout, notably compared with earlier iterations. Whereas, as aforementioned, I’ve lengthy loved Michter’s 10 yr rye, I nonetheless maintain out hope yearly that it’s going to ascend to the heights achieved by the model’s 2016 model.
To their credit score, Grasp Distiller Dan McKee and Grasp of Maturation Andrea Wilson (each of whom moved into their present positions in 2016) have taken nice strides of their stewardship of this sourced expression and – for my palate – every of the previous three years have represented a marked enchancment in its high quality. The query to ask now’s: will 2022’s Michter’s 10 12 months Single Barrel Rye proceed alongside that upward trajectory?
Earlier than attempting this yr’s expression, I had the distinct pleasure of talking with Andrea Wilson – each in Shively, Kentucky at their manufacturing facility and over the cellphone – to be taught extra about this launch. A condensed model of our dialog, edited for readability, follows:
Malt: What’s the course of like for choosing the liquid that finally ends up going into the Michter’s 10 12 months Single Barrel Rye?
Andrea: What we do is we check out the inventory which can be over 10 years outdated and we pattern them, after which we slim that right down to a gaggle that we ship to our tasting panel, which incorporates Grasp Distiller Dan McKee. Then, we consider the samples collectively and we choose those who we consider are of the very best high quality for the potential for launch. Then, finally, it’s the resolution of the grasp distiller on what to launch and we have been very excited concerning the launch that was chosen this yr. I believe it’s distinctive and I’m very excited to speak about it!
Malt: You talked about to me in Shively that for the tasting panel there’s an annual take a look at. What’s that course of like?
Andrea: On an annual foundation, we have now over 25 individuals skilled to style and scent whiskey and we undergo an annual qualification course of the place every particular person has to satisfy the necessities, as a result of as a person your physique adjustments over time. You might have exterior components which might influence your potential to be on the tasting panel. So, it’s essential to us to get a constant repeatable end result from the people who’re on the tasting panel by way of their potential to style and scent whiskey.
We’re trying not solely on the fragrant of the spirit, the style profile of the spirit, the dynamic nature of the spirit, the feel of the whiskey, or the colour of the whiskey, however we’re additionally inspecting how that whiskey adjustments because it sits in your glass. We’re attempting to make a extremely good American whiskey expertise for somebody who’s going to buy a bottle of Michter’s merchandise and we wish to be sure that their tasting expertise goes to hold via even when they find yourself sitting with that spirit for an hour or extra whereas they take pleasure in it.
So these are the important thing markers we’re after we’re inspecting a spirit and we’re qualifying people to have the ability to deduce and establish whether or not there are off notes, or notes of explicit curiosity, or to have the ability to pick issues which can be comparable in nature. There are a lot of totally different steps, however these are only a few of them. It’s not one thing we take flippantly.
Malt: There are rumors, after all, that there’s whiskey older than 10 years on this expression. Care to remark?
Andrea: [laughs] We don’t publicize what these ages are, however I’ll let you know that it’s over 10, and I believe it’s a part of the enjoyment of the expertise to be sincere. You realize it’s enjoyable to have individuals dial into their palate and type of speak about what they’re experiencing and what they suppose it represents and I believe that’s a really attention-grabbing dialog to interact across the ingesting of a pour.
Malt: I do know that for Michter’s you’ve a proprietary filtration course of that’s distinctive for every expression. Are you able to speak about what units the method for filtering Michter’s 10 12 months Single Barrel Rye aside from, say, your commonplace rye?
Andrea: The factor to say is that it’s not filtered the identical as our commonplace rye. It has a customized profile that has been outlined particularly for this launch of Michter’s 10 12 months Rye. So, simply because we did a launch of Michter’s 10 beforehand doesn’t imply that the protocol stays the identical yr after yr. We nonetheless have to look at the barrels that we chosen for this launch as a result of they might change in age or they might have totally different attributes related to them.
All of this must be thought-about when the chilliness filtration course of is chosen for the latest launch. And so this yr’s launch has a customized protocol related to it. As you might be conscious the protocol consists of many various variables… I’m not going to enter all of these. Nevertheless, altering any variable can change the end result for us, and what we’re actually attempting to do is deliver ahead all of that whiskey’s finest traits that took years to develop within the barrel. I believe the customization of the chilliness filtration course of does a extremely lovely job for this 10 yr rye.
Malt: When choosing barrels, is there a specific taste profile the tasting panel is on the lookout for? Is the intention for this product’s profile to be uniform yr over yr?
Andrea: Nice query; what I might say is that with Michter’s we have now a home model. We would like it to be wealthy, flavorful, straightforward ingesting, heat, however with no burn, and have a terrific texture expertise. We additionally need it to be dynamic from entrance to again of palate. These issues are essential by way of what customers anticipate once they expertise Michter’s merchandise.
Once we have a look at the ten yr rye, I’ll say on the whole there have been traits which were known as out as a result of we use a Kentucky model rye recipe, which means we’re going to remain nearer to 51% rye grain within the recipe after which we’re going so as to add corn and malted barley to assist stability the spicy nature of the rye grain. So, you get this lovely concord between the baking spice that comes from the rye however you additionally get this envelope of florals and caramel and citrus that every one type of comes collectively on this lovely marriage that creates this distinctive ingesting expertise. That is what we’re on the lookout for. Now every launch could have its nuances of character distinction, this explicit launch has that after once more, but it surely additionally has the sweetness that customers that take pleasure in our 10 yr rye have come to anticipate.”
Malt: Following up on that: what are you able to say about this yr’s expression in comparison with years previous?
Andrea: I really feel fairly strongly about this launch as a result of what I believe is gorgeous about it’s it has this lovely floral and blossom honey nostril and this lovely citrus that is available in and likewise this chocolate word. What’s actually attention-grabbing is after I begin tasting this it comes into my palate a little bit bit candy and because it strikes throughout my palate it transitions into among the fruit character; I even get a little bit of raisin with spice that jogs my memory of a vacation fruit pie.
In the back of my palate and into the end it type of goes into this little milk chocolate path and I simply adore it for that cause. I believe it’s so decadent that I’m simply utterly enchanted by it after which on the very finish you get a little bit little bit of citrus coming in with that chocolate which is a pleasant little contact on the end and I believe it’s very lovely. A bit of bit totally different than earlier releases the place we had perhaps a stronger fruit-and-spice coming collectively on the end. However I believe this one having that milk chocolate path on the top is simply distinctive.
Because of Andrea as soon as once more for generously sharing her time and insights.
Returning to the query at hand: will the 2022 Michter’s 10 12 months Rye show a big enchancment over its newer forebears? In spite of everything, Michter’s President Joseph J. Magliocco stated of this explicit expression, “It might be the one launch we do of a ten 12 months whiskey this yr, but it surely’s a extremely particular one.” Michter’s workforce has of late given me little cause to doubt their deployment of superlatives, because of the intensive consideration they present not simply within the whiskey they produce, but in addition within the manufacturing strategies that give delivery to stated whiskey. Using Andrea Wilson’s experience in choosing barrels alongside the virtuosity of Dan McKee and the Michter’s tasting panel in choosing spirits has resulted in additional reward than pessimism recently right here on Malt, and so I’m desirous to see the place this “particular” launch locations among the many portfolio.
As for the specifics of this launch: this can be a single barrel 10 yr product with an undisclosed mash invoice which clocks in at 92.8 proof (46.4% ABV) and carries a steep advised retail worth of $185 per 750ml bottle. I used to be lucky to buy a bottle of this expression simply south of that advised retail worth, although I’ll be utilizing $185 because the benchmark for my scoring underneath Malt’s price-sensitive rubric.
I used to be then doubly lucky to obtain a pattern of this expression from Malt’s Editor in Chief Taylor Cope, whose impressions might be discovered after my very own beneath. To be clear, Taylor and I will likely be sharing notes from the identical actual barrel (Barrel 22E1692) so any deviation in our impressions can solely be chalked as much as private choice. Hopefully two-for-the-price-of-one serves you twice over, pricey reader, now allow us to begin with the overview!
[Editor’s note: this bottle was provided to me free of charge by Michter’s. Per Malt’s editorial policy, we’re going to do our best to ensure that this gift does not influence our notes or scores]
Michter’s 10 12 months Outdated Single Barrel Rye 2022 – Frank’s Overview
Colour: Gold with an orange hue.
On the nostril: Candy oak, singed mint, and vanilla aromas possess the senses at first earlier than the oak particularly turns into extra outstanding over time. With a couple of swirls there are notes of darkish honey and strawberry laborious sweet unlocked together with a faint contact of anise and leather-based plus a verdant side of dewy grass that joins the fray. Lastly there’s a little bit of chewing gum to go along with a creating floral side that lightens the fragrant profile and rounds out a somewhat nice nosing expertise.
Within the mouth: It enters the palate like a mint sweet and carries with it an nearly “dusty” candy oak taste to go along with a splash of vanilla, all to be anticipated from the nostril. The place issues take an unpredictable tack is on the second sip, the place a little bit of honeyed tea provides method to anise and milk chocolate in a pleasing flip. Now, being heartily loved, I’m capable of choose up a contact of tart cherry and flaky pastry crust that be a part of the overarching flavors of mint sweet and milk chocolate. The mouthfeel is a bit skinny and, general, every sip appears each restrained and refined. It shows a deftness in stability, but it surely’s held in examine by my want to see these flavors all turned up a notch.
What I’m left with is a somewhat pleasant whiskey that advantages from a stunning stability of flavors that treads faithfully on the well-worn path of Kentucky model ryes. What I’m left wishing for, nonetheless, is a contact extra oomph to make this pour extra memorable and warrant the slight improve in worth this expression has seen over final yr’s launch. Between the candy flip this takes at midpalate and the warming sensation on the highest and again of my mouth because the end takes maintain, there’s quite a bit to love about this expression which – regardless of its low ABV – punches above its proof.
Returning finally to my query of how this compares to different latest releases: I’d need to say the 2022 Michter’s 10 12 months Single Barrel Rye succeeds in being extra nicely rounded, however falls wanting being distinctive in anyone class. That reality, when thought-about together with its steep asking worth, will preserve it a notch beneath “Nice” for me on the Malt scale.
Michter’s 10 12 months Outdated Single Barrel Rye 2022 – Taylor’s Overview
Colour: Medium golden orange.
On the nostril: The primary impression is of a harmonious marriage of quintessential rye notes with an amply candy oakiness. I get freshly lower grass, lime, and a moist loaf of rye bread assembly with a creamy dollop of vanilla. There’s the piquant scent of ginger in right here as nicely, mixed with a tickling texture within the nostril that makes me consider a glass of ginger ale. Some extra subdued spicy components of paprika and lemongrass flit across the periphery, however I preserve coming again to that preliminary stability of rye and oak. With time, dried floral scents of potpourri add one other layer of fragrant texture.
Within the mouth: Very lean to begin, this sneaks previous the lips with solely the wispiest of flavors. That each one adjustments in the midst of the mouth, the place there’s the tartness of underripe stone fruit married to a tannic woodiness. The whiskey hits its stride most totally because it reaches the crest of the tongue, the place the purity of the grain once more meets with the sweetness of the oak in a dance of steely rye and clean, creamy vanilla that’s the spotlight of the expertise. Into the end, there’s a lingering metallic side that I affiliate with rye grain, in addition to a textural warmth that’s firmly lodged close to the again of the tongue, however in any other case this fades away considerably extra shortly than I would really like.
The great components of this are excellent, certainly. To call however a couple of outstanding ones: the nostril is a delight to smell away at endlessly, and that second of excellent concord in the midst of the mouth is a superb encapsulation of the perfect of what rye whiskey does finest. Towards the entrance and the again of the palate, nonetheless, I’m left wanting extra. From a scoring perspective, I’m attempting to stability an general pleasurable expertise with a price ticket that had my expectations nearer to perfection. With pluses for the constructive offset by deductions on account of worth for cash, I’m left feeling like that is in the midst of our vary.
Frank’s Remaining Ideas:
I’d wish to thank Andrea Wilson and members of Michter’s manufacturing workforce for taking the time to point out me round their Shively facility and reply questions for this overview. As you possibly can see above, Taylor and I are largely aligned in our impressions: this can be a tasty rye with quite a bit to love, save the value. As such I might personally advocate attempting this earlier than shopping for it, although I believe anybody inclined to do the latter is not going to be dissuaded by the previous.