Michter's US*1 Small Batch Bourbon

Rich, Earthy and Austere

Reviewed by
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4th Oct 2011

Reviewer rating:


About this score:

The average score for this whisky is 83.

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Tasting Notes by AboutChoice

The current Michter's Bourbon is bottled by Kentucky Bourbon Distillers (Even and Drew Kulsveen) for Chatham Imports of New York. Other than the brand name and the marketing hype, there does not seem to be a connection to the historic and defunct Pennsylvania distillery bearing the same name. The current Michter's is distilled at an undisclosed location (as with other KBD brands), but according to a recent blog, Michter's is moving to the old Fort Nelson building in downtown Louisville, KY, where they plan to expand their distillation efforts.

The original Michter's whiskey (not being reviewed here) has not been distilled for over 20 years (Schaefferstown in southeastern Pennsylvania, U.S.). Rather than reiterate and summarize an interesting account about the history and the 1990 closing of the Pennsylvania Michter's Distillery, here is the link so you can enjoy reading all of it : http://www.whatdoesjohnknow.com/2010/08/31/guest-blog-2-what-killed-michter%E2%80%99s-distillery/

According to Chatham Imports, this small batch bourbon is distilled from corn (no mention of other grains), and after climate-controlled maturation in charred white oak barrels, it is run through a filtration process. My bottle is from batch 9A-17, and there is no age indication.

The Michter's brand also includes a single barrel bourbon, an unblended American whiskey, a rye and several vintage bottlings.

Bottle Nose: Not too forthcoming … typical notes of corn, caramel & butterscotch, some old woody oak or pine, and perhaps a bit of muskiness and sourness … this is intimidating, but intriguing at the same time … and I'm apprehensive about the imminent tasting.

Glass Nose: About the same as the bottle nose; with water, more forward with more pronounced caramel. But nothing really special here.

Palate: Robust and rich, semi-sweet and spicy, with a background of cinnamon and ginger. This can be a bit sharp at first, and water significantly yields a smoother drink, while amplifying the flavors. This is quite nice, and like nothing else that I have tried.

Finish: After a rich and tasty experience on the palate, the finish is where the real unique and defining character makes its appearance. The aftertaste is of dry old wood and fresh pine, with a touch of musky leather; once, my notes indicated a barnyard aftertaste. The dry finish is quite warming, memorable and fairly long … it stays with you.

Conclusions: At 40-50 USD, Michter's is on the pricey side, but it is unlike anything else I have tasted. A year ago, I didn't care for it, but now I tend to find more to like every time I have a sip … and I have now come to respect and embrace this distinctive small batch. Michter's Small Batch offers an earthy and deep semi-sweetness, and spiciness of cinnamon, cloves and black pepper, all with an austere and respectful heartiness. If you like bourbons such as Bulleit, Wild Turkey Rare Breed, Knob Creek, Eagle Rare and Vintage Bourbon, you may indeed appreciate this one as well.

As alluded above, this whiskey may take a few months to develop its full appreciation (due to either you or the bottle), and at a tasting, a good number of sips may be required before it fully opens up, and softens up to you … but stay with it, and it will go home with you.

Finally I have to mention the bold, weighty and adorable vintage bottle, which remarkably compliments the character of the whiskey.

Bourbon rating: 85/100 ( a distinctive top-shelf bottle )


Whisky details






Full Gold



Victor wrote:

Michter's Bourbon has to me an odd, sort of medicinal, flavour profile, unlike any other bourbon I have encountered. A person COULD like this flavour profile, but as for me, I doubt I would ever care to buy a bottle.

04 October 2011 01:55

AboutChoice wrote:

@Victor, I suppose this is a different "medicinal" from the common scotch "medicinal", otherwise you might like the Michter's a bit more :-) The flavor profile you mention is probably the same uniqueness that I am noticing ... which I referred to as woody, piney, musky and sour. We do agree that it is like no other ! I was hoping that you and others would offer your opinion about this problematic whiskey ... so thanks. But as of Today, I still like it :)

04 October 2011 03:04

Victor wrote:

@AboutChoice, the "medicinal" I have experienced with Michter's Bourbon strikes me as yes, sort of musky and piney, but mostly what seems to me phenolic, like a peat-smoke derived sort of flavour. To me that phenolic flavour contrasts very oddly with the rye in the bourbon. I have no idea where such a flavour would come from in a bourbon. I suppose that it would have to be from the wood.

04 October 2011 04:28

jjmagliocco wrote:

Thanks for writing about Michter's US*1 Bourbon. I very much enjoyed reading your wonderful description of the different elements comprising its flavor.

Just an FYI, I can assure you of my personal connection to Michter's from Pennsylvania to Kentucky. During my college years in the late 1970's, I became a loyal Michter's drinker. In fact, following training about the whiskey, I worked a summer job selling Michter's, and after graduating from law school I went to work for a Michter's distributor.

When Dick Newman, the former President of Austin Nichols (Wild Turkey in those days), and I undertook in the 1990's to restart Michter's production, we set out to capture all the richness of the traditional Michter's style.

If you would like more information about Michter's, please check out our website www.michter's.com.

Thanks again for sampling our whiskey. Cheers!

06 October 2011 22:54

jjmagliocco wrote:

The correct Michter's website address is www.michters.com.

06 October 2011 22:59

AboutChoice wrote:

jjmagliocco, thanks very much for dropping in and and contributing your first-hand experience with Mitchter's. Please keep us informed of any new developments !

29 March 2012 01:01

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