Michter’s 10 year old Single Barrel Bourbon
Color in glencairn glass: Round, burnt orange
Nose: Sharp, waxy turpentine, oak, vanilla; hot, bitter wood. Deep candied orange rind. This nose opens up in a big way after a few minutes in the glass, as brown sugar starts to massage away the sharp turpentine smell.
Taste: Thin, sharp entry with a slight brown sugary undercurrent: heat, but no spice. The palate is mild, unassertive and undiscerning with some sweet nectarine-like character showing up faded underneath a thin sugar water. The finish adds a punch of heat with cinnamon and pepper spices that are far away. Nothing to chew on in between sips, just a vague orange candy aftertaste
This whiskey seems like the runt of a litter. It has some nice qualities of brown sugar, nectarine fruitiness and cinnamon, but I feel like they have all but been scrubbed out. Heat, however, remains, and throws up a wooden wall that stops the finish dead in its tracks, leaving only a faint trace of bourbon behind
Like many American whiskeys released by non-distiller producers, rumors and speculation concerning which distillery(ies) the juice comes from swirl around this product. My taste buds tell me that the whiskey in my bottle is wheated bourbon, but that doesn’t mean that the bottle with the same label that you buy off the shelf tomorrow will be the same. Though I lose out on the intellectual enjoyment of a whiskey when I don’t know where it comes from, I am still happy to judge what’s in the bottle on its own merits, and to me, this is vastly over-priced booze.
When a company uses a classic name like Michter’s to sell their sourced whiskey, they are emphasizing a history that is completely divorced from their product. Sure, it’s just business, but if it’s in a company’s best interest to lure me to their product by using font and a backstory with a rich history that has nothing to do with the actual content therein, then it’s just as much in my best interest as a consumer to pay no heed to the marketing, and therefore never, ever pay for the marketing involved in a release like this, which I judge to be at least half the cost of the bottle.
I believe that this usually comes packaged with a batch number on the neck; my bottle had no such tag. I don’t quite understand the significance of categorizing a single barrel bourbon by batch release. I guess it could mean that bottles with the same batch are from barrels sourced in the same year, but then again, it might mean something else entirely; how would I know?