Did you know: Michter’s pioneered the toasted barrel craze back in 2014, and it’s been at it ever since. This is the first expression of the distillery’s US-1 Toasted Barrel Rye we’ve seen since 2020, and again it undergoes the operation’s unique aging process, which we’ll remind you about here:
Michter’s Master of Maturation Andrea Wilson oversees the special aging protocol that Michter’s Toasted Barrel Rye undergoes. She observed, “Our Master Distiller Dan McKee and I first select fully matured barrels of our US*1 Rye. Then we transfer each of those rye barrels for finishing into a second barrel, made of special wood naturally air-dried and seasoned outdoors for 24 months and toasted to our specifications, but not charred. The Toasted Barrel Finish Rye is designed to showcase the beautiful extractives from a toasted only finish barrel that impart remarkable character and contribute to an exceptional experience.” According to Master Distiller McKee, the average barrel proof for the toasted rye barrels bottled for this release is 108.9 (54.45% ABV).
To start: Really intense color here, darker than just anything I’ve encountered in recent months.
The nose has plenty of the deep wood notes that I’ve come to associate with Michter’s various Toasted Barrel releases, not just toasty wood but also fresh rye bread, almost burnt, plus notes of fresh black tea, some anise, and an edge of gunpowder. Savory on the palate, the impact of the toasted barrel is palpable, amping up the wood with lots of baking spice, red pepper, and a smoky, peppery, roasted meat character. While a lot less green than 2020’s toasted barrel rye, it’s still got a huge depth of grass-driven character, complementing the barrel-driven notes well.
Water’s the right move here, tempering the herbaceous qualities of the whiskey and allowing some sweetness to percolate — here a mix of sesame and light coconut notes, gently syrupy at times. A tea leaf quality somewhere between green and black lingers heavily on the finish, which finally lets loose its grip on the toasty, herb-heavy notes up front. Definitely a lively, lovely rye that shows how toasted barrels can be used beautifully when the blender knows what they’re doing. I went back to the bottle more times than I can count. Well, OK: three.
109.2 proof as tasted. Reviewed: Barrel #23G2641. MSRP is $120, pricing below is typical street price.