Michter’s US*1 Bourbon Review

Whiskey Name: Michter’s US*1 Bourbon

Distillery: Goodness only knows

Whiskey Type: Kentucky Straight Bourbon

Release Date: General

Price: £50

Age: NAS

ABV: 45.7%

Mashbill: See “Distillery”

Introduction/Background: Michter’s are one of the higher brow sourced whiskies on the market, courtesy largely of their storied age-statement bourbons and ryes, as well as their excellent cask strength rye.

Unpacking the brand is worthy of a whole separate article in and of itself, which we’ll doubtless write one of these days. Suffice it to say that, for the time being, anything you see with a Michter’s label is sourced, whilst they crack on with distilling in their new facility in Shivley.

Michter’s play their cards pretty close on mashbills, and just as close on distillery of origin. Their idiosyncrasy lies in their particularly low barrel entry proof. Expensive, but the upshot is that sugars dissolve more quickly from the barrel staves into the liquid.

I’ve always veered more towards the ryes than the bourbons, with the caveat that the 20 year old bourbon is probably in the top two or three American whiskies I’ve ever tried. The entry-level US*1 hasn’t always floated my boat though, so let’s see whether time has bred any new affection ...  

Appearance: Tawny

Nose: Slightly quiet, by bourbon standards. Lots of citrus – dried for me, rather than zesty – and some brown sugar. A meatiness lurks in the background, alongside a touch of strawberry lace. “Guess the age” and “guess the mashbill” are difficult games to play...

Mouth: Follows a similar juicy theme; still a little light in body. Caramel seems to play a bigger role here, and the longer you hold it in your mouth, the more a buttery aspect seems to peek through.

Finish: Short to medium. Can’t say that the flavours change dramatically.

Value for Money: Middling.

Summary: Do you know what? I think this is the only whiskey in the Michter’s range that doesn’t entirely float my boat. Which isn’t to say it’s “bad” by any stretch of the imagination; simply that at this price it leaves one wanting a little more.

I remember once being told off at a bar for preferring the rye to the bourbon. It takes all sorts to make a world, of course, but I do genuinely think that in the US*1 range, the rye takes top spot. In fact, to my mind, Michter’s rye tops Michter’s bourbon until you reach the 20+ bracket, and even then I know that plenty of people would disagree when I say I prefer the 20yo bourbon to the 25yo rye on the whole.

I think somehow I hold Michter’s to a particularly high standard, and tasting the US*1 bourbon I’m left thinking of other pours I could have had for the money that I would have preferred. Which, for £50 a bottle, isn’t really the reaction I’m after.

Overall Verdict: I wouldn’t turn a glass down. But I probably wouldn’t buy a bottle.

Words by WhiskyPilgrim