As it were, last week a box arrived on my doorstep, about mid-day. It was addressed to me, from a location I didn’t immediately recognize. I had no idea what the contents would be, it was absolute mystery to me. I hadn’t purchased anything, or at least anything I had remembered…..but that doesn’t mean much. Boxes often arrive and leave me saying “Oh yes, that’s right. I forgot that bottle was coming.”
When I cut it open and retrieved the contents, I was a little more than shocked. Inside were two air-socks containing Michter’s new 10yr old Rye and Bourbon. I was somewhat amazed, as I knew that the 10yr Rye had been released, I had no idea the 10yr Bourbon was coming out. (It would be says before the Michter’s press release would come out.) This lies solely on the fact that the 2015 release was just a few months ago. But my eyes weren’t deceiving me, because here it was, sitting on my counter.
By now, its not a secret that Master Distiller Willie Pratt held back the 2015 Bourbon release 8 months to let it spend a little more time steeping and sleeping in oaken char, hence why a spring release hit the shelves right around the time the Thanksgiving turkey was going into the oven. So I could only make an assumption that Mr. Pratt felt no need to hold this release back at all.
I sat the bottles up on my shelf, looked at them for a while admiring the heavy wax and sleek contour lines of glass, looking over at the clock, looking back at the bottles, looking at the clock…on and on, waiting for the socially appropriate time to bust the wax open and pour out the juice. Five minutes later, the glencairn was full.
In the nose, I got heavy caramel and crisp green apple notes. It’s light and fresh. There were components of nuttiness hanging around. I got some honeysuckle textures as well. It put me in mind of a trip I took to Italy a few years ago, tramping through Pompeii. I’m a student of all things history related, and Pompeii pretty much satisfies any pangs or urges you have as far as history is concerned. Also being a huge Pink Floyd fan, I dearly wanted to sit in the center of the Pompeii’s Colosseum and listen to Echoes…to sit in the spot where they recorded the Live at Pompeii album, in front of a stadium filled with ghosts. I typically do a terrible job thinking about logistical things ahead of time, for instance will I be able to find lunch inside a city that was buried under a pyroclastic flow of lava and sulfer dioxide 2000 years ago? Lucky for me, right outside the main gates of the city there was a man with a cart, selling fruits and beverages. I snagged a couple of juicy green apples on my way in. The day was hot, and the apples were full of cold, tart juiciness. The nose on the Michter’s takes me back to that moment.
To me, it tastes younger than a 10yr. It seems a little more wild. It’s very much an exercise in black pepper over sugar cubes from beginning to end. Very peppery. For lovers of a spicy recipe, this is right up your alley. I waffle on that. Sometimes I’m a fan, sometimes I want something a little sweeter, sometimes I’m just looking to get kicked in the taste buds with heavy proof and brown sugar. With some air-time, I detected a lot of corn as well, but not sweet corn. It reminded me of the way corn tastes in a hotter OESO actually. What’s really holding this bottle back? The proof. I think a lot of the questions or complaints that people have could be shushed by putting this 10yr annual release out as a barrel proofer. That added oomph could take it over the top. I understand that proofing down increases the yield, but being that M10 releases are hard to get already (and near impossible in ABC states), they might as well give it the gas.
The finish was a medium-mild burn. It hits the lips and travels backwards, hovering and fading out in the mid-palate.
The post nose offers plenty of oaky sweetness.
Addendum – 6/28/16: I have had this bottle open for a few months now, and it has evolved quite a bit through all of the phases. There is quite a bit more honey and sugary oak in the nose, with floral elements like summer honey suckle underneath. The green apples have softened a lot.
The flavor really opened up as well. Its a lot less wild, and I get the sense the maturation just needed air to reveal itself. So much more red berry elements in the palate that give way to the big vanilla and burnt sugars. The peppery component that was so prevelent before has been dialed back.
So glad I didn’t finish this one right away! I’m really enjoyin it!