Michter’s US*1 Bourbon
When I got the word that I would be joining the Stogies on the Rocks Team, I naturally took a gander at my spirits inventory. As fate would have it, I had just enough Michter’s US*1 bourbon, Batch 14C123, for one tasting. I figured it was as good a place to start as any. Since I had already consumed most of the bottle, I felt I was fairly aware of what my tasting experience would be. However, there is more to this bourbon than I had initially thought. I’m getting ahead of myself though. First, a little background on Michter’s.
Regarding history tied to the brand, Michter’s takes the cake. Granted, you’d have to do some serious research to follow the history of Michter’s because it has changed hands and names on several occasions. But Michter’s has done the hard work for us. They can actually trace their lineage all the way back to the country’s very first distillery!
All the way back in 1753, John Shenk opened Shenk’s Distillery in Pennsylvania. For all you history buffs that would put it’s opening just before the revolutionary war! They happened to have a very famous customer as well, none other than George Washington! Back then he was General George Washington. He visited the distillery and enjoyed the whiskey so much that he brought some back to his troops that were camped at Valley Forge. Now that is a great general!
The company has changed hands as well as names since its revolutionary period days. It was also forced to close its doors during prohibition. In the 1990’s, Joseph Magliocco and Richard Newman brought the once illustrious name back to life. Initially, Michter’s was a non-distilling producer. However, they now have a distilling facility. The bourbon that is available on the shelf now is probably still from the outsourced distiller, but we should be able to get ahold of their own distilled bourbon soon. There are many opinions on non-distilling producers, but it is important to remember that Michter’s has been working towards getting their own distilled product to us the consumer for years now. The bottom line is that their product is tasty!
The nose on this bourbon is really enjoyable. Initially, I was hit with strong sweet notes such as honey, caramel, vanilla, and sweet corn. It really reminded me of the aroma of creamed corn cooking on the stovetop. There is also a faint note of wood, which actually smells like sawdust. That may not sound appealing, but it is faint and actually plays nicely with the sweet notes. At first, I just poured it in my snifter neat. After I went through my initial impressions with the nose, I added just a drop of water. Man, did that make a difference! Everything became more pronounced and really opened the nose up. Overall a very pleasant aroma.
There is nothing even remotely reserved about this bourbon. The texture was medium to a velvety mouth feel. I first tried tasting it neat and was greeted with an onslaught of caramel, sweet corn, stone fruit, peppercorn spice, and a hint of oak. At first it was a bit hot, but when I added a drop of water, everything became enhanced and the heat from the alcohol dissipated. I was very impressed with how much the bourbon opened up. This is some fine, complex bourbon! With the water, I was able to better differentiate the different tasting notes and seemed to highlight different flavors as it opened up in the glass. Very pleasant and enjoyable stuff!
Equally unique is the finish. It begins fairly standard with the spice notes, but then the oak shows up to the party. It is more of an old oak with a bit of leather, but is actually very pleasant. Which is a good thing because the finish seems to go on forever! The finish is just another reminder of how complex this bourbon is.
Best Way(s) to Consume:
If you’re the type of person that likes to go hard in the paint (basketball reference people), then by all means enjoy this neat! However, for all of us mere mortals, I would suggest adding just a touch of water. A little goes a long way here. For those of you who enjoy your fine bourbon in cocktail form, this should do the trick:
General’s Morale Cocktail:
As a tribute to General George Washington lifting his troops’ spirits with the ancestor of Michter’s bourbon, I thought I’d raise your morale with this cocktail! Because Michter’s is a quality bourbon, I thought it was only fair to pair it with other quality spirits.
- 1 1/2 oz. Michter’s US*1 bourbon
- 1/3 oz. Koval Coffee Liqueur
- 2 dashes orange bitters
Start with combining all of the ingredients into a mixing glass and fill it with ice. Stir the mixture thoroughly, then pour into a cocktail glass that has been chilled and garnish with an orange peel. All that is left to do is to enjoy it!
I really enjoyed my journey with Michter’s US*1 bourbon. I must be honest, the first time I tried it I thought it was good but didn’t blow me away. As I worked my way through the bottle, my experience seemed to improve each time I had some. Just to make sure I wasn’t losing it, I perused the internet to see if anyone else had the same experience and sure enough, others had. To get the most out of this complex bourbon, it needs to breathe a bit before all its intricacies show themselves. So take your time with this one, it’ll be worth it!