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Michter's US*1 Small Batch Bourbon

Average score from 6 reviews and 14 ratings 84

Michter's US*1 Small Batch Bourbon

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Michter's US*1 Small Batch Bourbon

I bought this bourbon on a bit of a whim. I'm sure Michter's paid Netflix to include it prominently in several seasons of the entertaining Jessica Jones which I was binge-watching when I bought this. I laughed at my own silliness in being seduced by one of the oldest marketing tricks in the book, but if nothing else, I thought I'd be able to write a scathing review of a brand with a bit of a shady history.

Tasting Notes

  • Nose (undiluted): caramel, vanilla, raisins, cherries, a hint of spice (cinnamon and cloves mostly)
  • Palate: light to medium bodied, smoooooooooth as heck (i.e. no heat or alcohol burn), cinnamon, orange zest, a touch of tobacco
  • Finish: medium length, orange zest, brown sugar, some fresh corn notes lingering
  • Thoughts: I have no idea if this is Michter's own whiskey in the bottle or if they're still sourcing...but I like this. I didn't want to. I wanted to laugh at the suckers who overpay for over-marketed hype but this is quite pleasant. Yes, it's overpriced in Ontario, no doubt. But I can't totally rule out buying another bottle. I suppose it depends if there are any more seasons of Jessica Jones in the works.

@OdysseusUnbound thank you for your review.

With an honest and open mind whiskis will frequently surprise you.


The reviewed bottle, from Batch 10B-24, is owned by @Maddie, is 65% full, and has been open for 5 years. @Michter's is a legendary old distillery and brand the rights to which are currently owned by a non-distillery producer. Michter's in the Spring 2017 edition of Whisky Advocate trumpets the trade-marked slogan, "It's all about the whiskey." in a full-page ad. That is a good slogan for them now, because much antagonism and animosity was aroused against the brand in recent years because of extremely dubious and potentially misleading claims and labeling. The reviewed bottle is of sourced whiskey of unknown distillery. To the best of my knowledge Michter's did perform and oversee the aging process

Nose: classic strong intensity rye-and-oak-spiced bourbon, showing noticeable but well-integrated and harmonious char. Medium to heavy caramel with light vanilla sewn into the lining. The pitches are mostly middle range, but there are also, happily, both some high pitches and quite a few bass register wood tones from oak. Wonderfully balanced. This is absolutely classic bourbon, and reminds me a lot of Jefferson's Reserve and Virginia Gentleman bourbons, both of which are wonderful company in which to be. Water added: raised the pitch, fused the flavours, and increased the sweetness. Score: 23/25 points

Taste: very faithful translation of the nose flavours to the mouth. You really taste the char here, which is for me near the maximum range of acceptable. At this point, this bottle is a spice and char trip in the mouth. Water added fused the flavours and emphasised caramel. Score: 21.5/25

Finish: drifts toward the sour into the finish, probably more so now because this bottle has been open for 5 years. Water added: shifted the flavour heavily toward caramel-sweet and away from sourness. Better with water. Score: 20.5/25

Balance: very good balance in the nose; good balance on delivery; fair balance on the finish. Score: 21/25

Total Sequential Score: 86 points


Strength: strong flavours throughout. Score: 23/25

Quality: excellent grain flavours; very good wood flavours; a little heavy on the char. Score: 22.5/25

Variety: very good variety in the flavours available. Score: 21.5/25

Harmony: excellent harmony in the nose; good-to very good harmony thereafter. Score: 21.5/25

Total Non-Sequential Score: 88.5 points


Comment: sourced whiskeys can vary a great deal, and the distillery sources can change without notice. In previous years I've had Michter's bourbon which tasted much different from this reviewed bottle. This bottle I like, and I remember it being a couple of points better still a year or two ago. Among recent Michter's products I prefer their bourbon the best, and have sampled other recent bottles of Michter's bourbon. Their rye was just OK, and was lacking something. That stuff they call 'Michter's American Whiskey' is one clashing hodge-podge of flavours which I dislike enormously

Interesting background info about Michters here @Victor I had no idea about the labelling controversy

@CaskTime, for more detail about the Michter's brand, present and past, go to the Chuck Cowdery blog and search Michter's. His recent posts on the subject go back about 6 years. Chuck is a meticulous historian of US whiskey, and is completely no BS. I hope Chuck lives and works forever, because there is no one better to read on the subject of American whiskey.


Michter's seems to claim to be the oldest whiskey distilling company in the US, having been established in 1753. If that is true, I don't know why I've only seen this brand on the marketplace over the last five years or so, and I don't see any records of older bottlings showing up at auction. If someone out there knows a little about this strange history, let me know in the comments. They are based in Louisville KY.

Their small batch bourbon is one of a a few core expressions (others include a rye, a blended whiskey and a sour mash, plus various limited editions and age statement bottlings). Their batches for this bourbon comprise no more than two dozen barrels, so it would be interesting to compare batches side-by-side. Alas, as this is not available at the LCBO, I won't likely get the chance. This bottle, from Batch No. 14B97, was a heel left over from a party I had, so I can't say how long it's been open (quite some time, I'm sure).

The colour is a dark copper. Very fruity on the nose with papaya, kumquats, tangerines and a hint of lemon. The caramel and vanilla are a little subdued, in favour of the fruit and oak. Also, not as herbaceous as some other bourbons. Liquorice, with a bit of burnt campfire (which is accentuated by water). Subtler than I expected; very nice.

Fruity on the palate as well, with the liquorice more upfront. The oak is toasty, with a bit more caramel. Nutty. A little spicy. Thin mouthfeel. Minty, grassy and herbal. Gets spicier, and fuller-bodied, with water. Again, subtle but with complexity. A summery bourbon (perfect for this 30+ heat we have in Toronto today).

The finish is very long and deep, with wet slate, pencil shavings and cloves. It's not a life-changer but this is a swell bourbon, easy to drink and worth picking up, for sure. Could use a little more oomph, though. I still have quite a bit in my Glencairn, but - sorry, purists - it's just too hot - I'm going to have to transfer this to an Old Fashioned glass and put it on ice. So shoot me.

Thanks - I scanned the article and will read it more in depth later. What a shame. Of course, nefarious business practices happen with so many businesses in all industries, but this looks pretty shitty.

Plently to read about Michters here: thebourbontruth.tumblr.com/search/michters

Even if only 1/10 of what he writes about them is true, it's enough for me to never buy a bottle.


If the name Michter’s does not ring a bell, do not be alarmed. They are not that well known. But the distillery, which actually listens to the name Willett Distilling Company or Kentucky Bourbon Distillers (KBD for short), was founded in 1935 and is still in family hands. The produce quite a lot of bourbons, including Johnny Drum, Old Bardstown and the wonderful Rowan’s Creek. They have just started putting Michter’s back on the map with, among others, this Small Batch Bourbon.

There is clearly some rye in the mix, for the nose is very spicy. Think cinnamon and nutmeg. Fruitwise I am reminded of the dried variety of apricots and peach. This nose is more than okay, but somewhat closed.

The arrival is syrupy and extremely sweet. Candied sugar, baked apples and the fruit from the nose: apricots and peach. Midpalate the spices kick in. Apart from cinnamon and cloves, I also get some black pepper.

The finish is rather short, but remains spicy.

I have to admit that I expected a bit more, especially with the slightly higher ABV. But for me, this is an ordinary bourbon.


From reading all the online reviews and information on the Michters website I thought I'd try this Bourbon.. Not so glad I did.. It has no discernible taste except peppercorns in my estimation.. Its pretty bitter...


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 : whatdoesjohnknow.com/2010/08/…

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 )

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!

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.

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