Some of the finest whiskey I’ve ever had has been Michter’s. Paul Pacult likened their 20-year bourbon to “A Lamborghini… every component is in tune with the other and working in perfect harmony”. He gave it his highest rating and one sip will tell you why. Its so easy, so perfect and before you can even take a sip the aroma hits your nose with a luscious bouquet of flavors you normally would not associate with whiskey. But it is sweet, it is delicious and it would take a long time to decipher all the flavor notes you taste. For this reason, you should just drink and enjoy it rather than psychoanalyze it. Its just whiskey and its perfect.
In blind tastings even the Michter’s 10 year won out over the Pappy Van Winkle and for good reason. Any whiskey with an age statement must refer to the youngest spirit in the bottle. For example, if you have a 25-year old whiskey blended with a 5-year old whiskey, the label must state its a 5 Year Old whiskey with no credit for the other percentage of 25 year old whiskey, no matter what quantity. So its no wonder Michter’s beats out Pappy because even their 10-year whiskey has been blended with older 13-15 year old whiskies.
At the end of the day, yes, its just whiskey, so drink and enjoy it. However, if you want a solid, sure-fire whiskey, any one from the Michter’s line is sure to please, especially if its a special occasion and you are lucky enough to find the 10 or 20 year at retail price. The 10-year currently goes for $100+ and the 20-year is well over $500. Yes, that is retail. If you happen to find it online on the “secondary” market (secondary meaning “scalpers”), expect to pay double that on both bottles.
The fact is, like gasoline and other commodities, whiskey is now victim to the price gougers since people got sick of cotton candy flavored vodka. The whiskey revival is now in full swing and consumers are paying for it. With the exception of the 10+ year vintages, expect to pay around $50 for any of Michter’s other whiskeys.
These would include the US*1 line pictured below. They ran out of the Sour Mash, so while it is not hard to find as of this writing, in a year or so it will be much harder to find, and more expensive, so grab it. If you want something smokey, try to find the Toasted Barrel which is not easy to find and was a runaway hit. The American Whiskey is delicious, and while they do not release the mash bill (recipe), you will find it worth every penny over most other American whiskies. Personally, I am a rye fan, and their rye is known by whiskey lovers as some of the best.
Like I said, you can’t go wrong here. I’ve seen the US*1 go for as little as $35 on sale to $55, so just be aware if you do seek out a bottle and don’t want to fall prey to the price-gougers. If you are fortunate enough to find the 10, 20 or even 25 year old whiskey, be prepared to shell out $100-700 on the retail level. Is it worth it? That is up to you. If you love whiskey and want the best, then yes. If you are a casual whiskey drinker, go for the American Whiskey or Sour Mash at $50 per bottle.
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