I sit here now, relaxed and happy, sipping a new spring release: the 2017 Michter’s 10yr Single Barrel Bourbon. It represents the first proper bourbon of limited release under the watchful eye of Master Distiller Pam Heilmann. Last month, Michter’s released the 2017 10yr Rye, Pam’s first actual release, which I thought was great. But I am a bourbon guy first and foremost, and I had really been anticipating this release.
So while many of my reviews number up into the 1000’s of words, in this case the 2017 Michter’s 10yr Single Barrel can be summed up in five: This is simply delicious bourbon.
I spent a lot of time just drinking and enjoying this one. In fact I couldn’t leave the bottle alone. I found my pours most enjoyable with about 10 minutes of air in a glencairn, straight.
So here we go.
The 2017 10yr Single Barrel release is so enjoyable…..
The nose is robust. It’s sweet up front with markers of sweet corn, and rich honey comb. A heavy punch of caramel, the kind that has been melted gooey in a copper pot on a stove top, waiting to be slathered over sweet slices of apple. The apple scent is awesome and easy to detect. But for all of that, the farm fresh honey and apple, you’d think the nose would be light. But it’s not. Rather it’s thick, like the scent from the hand hewn oak logs that made of the walls of the cabins we used to play in as kids. It’s got all of that smoky, charred barrel oak interwoven with a dark sweetness. Anise, yes that’s it….a classic, sweet black licorice. There is something else, a component my friend Adam helped me to appreciate: dankness. Some really great barrel dankness. Think of those damp oak barrels, sweating and expressing themselves in sugary, charred, moldy seepage along the seams. It’s subtle but its there, and it adds to body.
Flavor wise, the 2017 has lot more character than I found in the 2015 or 2016 releases. It’s decidedly more composed and balanced. Along with that character came a lot of classic bourbon flavors in the sip. It enters with mild heat and slow molasses from the get go, quickly giving way to a rich wash of creamy caramel and an aromatic vanilla that compliments the caramel in a unique way. It doesn’t get in the way nor stand out on its own, but rather places itself in the right spot on the palate as a complimentary component. I’m a fan of vanilla, the more the better. I tasted some mild tobacco in the flavor as well. There was a bit more of the smoky old oak, especially in the mouthfeel, which was moderately thick, but not oily. Basically what you should expect from a 10yr old (at minimum) bourbon.
Taking another deep huff of the glass, I noticed a hint of cocoa, owing itself to the char, which when mixed with the creamy vanilla revealed itself similar to the aromatic event of a fresh bag of Oreo cookies being opened. Pillowy and rich. Who doesn’t like that?
The finish is subtle and straight forward. A mild heat full of cinnamon. Not ever lasting, but leaves you ready to refill your glass up to the point that the bottle is empty.
With all of that, what more can be said really, other than grab one and drink it.
Oh, yes…. Thank you, Pam (and Michter’s). You’ve done it.
(P.S. This one will probably get one of those classic Epic Bourbon 1000 word reviews……)