Spec’s hosted a tasting of Michter’s US♦1 product line with Trent Roberts of Chatham Imports/Michter’s Distillery available to tell us about the history of Michter’s and some details about the production of their whiskey. Here’s what we tasted:
Michter’s US♦1 Sour Mash ($43) – Lots of sweet corn on the nose with caramel, vanilla, cherries, lemon drops, straw and sweet tobacco. The taste is similarly caramel, vanilla, ginger, straw, sweet corn and green pepper with a mildly charred, oily leather finish with notes of spice, sweet corn and pine sap. If you like a sweet corn whiskey, then this is your stuff. It’s bolder on the nose than on the palate and has a lot to offer, but the green notes detract from the overall balance a bit. Still a solid, if not overpriced offering.
Michter’s US♦1 Bourbon ($42) – Very similar to the Sour Mash, but less sweet on the palate; however, the sweet notes carry through to the finish better than with the Sour Mash. Some milk chocolate and mild spice on the nose with lemon drops, tart cherries and pepper on the palate that I didn’t detect with the Sour Mash. Overall, I like this a bit better, but it’s still overpriced compared to some Evan Williams offerings.
Michter’s US♦1 Rye ($42) – A milder rye than I’m used to with a tendency more toward sweet fruits and candies than the bold spices. The spices are still there, but the sweet flavors dominate with notes of dark cherries, dark chocolate, candied fruit and a bit of corn, caramel and vanilla. Like the bourbon, the sweetness carries through to the finish quite well. It’s the same theme here as above… a nice whiskey that’s a bit overpriced.
Michter’s US♦1 American ($40)- The standout of the evening, but not necessarily the best whiskey. It’s different than the others, being a 4-grain whiskey, and uniquely flavored as compared to most whiskey that I’ve tasted. There’s lots of rich chocolate with marshmallow to accompany the typical caramel, corn and dark fruits of a bourbon or rye with great balance and a long finish. It’s fun to drink, pares amazingly well with good chocolate (and we did this tonight) and offers good complexity as well. It’s got a good chewy feel to it, yet the sweetness probably relegates it to a dessert whiskey. That’s okay with me as I would prefer that to an overly sweet liqueur. I highly recommend this one if the chocolate profile appeals to you.
Michter’s US♦1 Barrel-Strength Rye ($70) – This rye is bolder in flavor than the normal rye offering with more complexity and more interesting, longer finish. Although not the most interesting whiskey of the evening, it’s the best crafted one with a nice aroma, plenty of fruit, spice, candy and grain flavors in nice balance and a moderately long finish with notes of chocolate, tobacco and spice. Still, we return to the overall theme and hurts Michter’s product line… price. There are better barrel strength rye whiskeys out there at the same price or less, like Willet 2-5 Year Single Barrels and Smooth Ambler Old Scout 6-8 Year offerings. I’d check those out instead.