The night before the three-day Kentucky Bourbon Fest was set to begin we were invited to a small tasting with two distillers from Michter’s Whiskey. The Speakeasy we were set to meet at, an amazing space that even the employees that worked adjacent to had no clue was there, was a great backdrop for the evening.
(If you don’t have time for my full story, scroll down to my social media post from the tasting.)
Once we entered the Speakeasy we were given a nice Old Fashioned to sip on, made with Michter’s rye of course, and took a couple of seats. Our speakers were Michter’s Master of Maturation Andrea Wilson and Master Distiller Dan McKee. The first thing we learned was that Michter’s is pronounced Mik-Ters, because, “During the 1950s, Lou Forman, one of the distillery’s then-owners, created the modern Michter’s brand name by combining portions of his sons’ names – Michael and Peter.” We also learned that they are “100% copper distillation.”
We started with their latest 10-year-old rye, their flagship whiskey of 51% rye and 92.8 proof. The age statement of 10 years means the whiskey is at least that old, but could very well be older. It was 51% rye, and corn was added in to give some sweet and spicy notes.
The distillers said it “packs a lot of beautiful rich flavor” with “viscosity and color”, and is always “released when ready.” One fellow taster said it was the “bourbon lover’s rye” and I had to agree. The rye is from a single barrel and not the same every time. Words like elegant, baking spice, carmelization and smoothness were echoed around the Speakeasy. The distillers suggested that we try it again, after more time spent in the glass. One final statement that lingered with me was a person that said it was like a caramel river.
Then we moved on to learning about the private family-owned distillery while sipping on their toasted rye whiskey. The distillers are very proud of Michter’s family and their respect for what the distillers want to do. It sounded like though they had worked for other distilleries in their career, they really found a very welcoming home at Michter’s.
They also do a “toasted rye every year to celebrate their heritage” that we were able to try. My notes included: Eucalyptus, toasted barrel, caramel apples, vanilla bean, whipped cream, cinnamon and other spices. Other tasters in the room noted “smoky like a campfire, savoriness and uniqueness (from) the toasted barrel.” We learned that Michter’s is “the first American whiskey to do a toasted release.”
My Social Media Post:
Would you follow me…into a speakeasy (not allowed to reveal exactly where it is in Louisville, KY) for a tasting with Michter’s Master of Maturation Andrea Wilson and Master Distiller Dan McKee? Oh, hell yes you would! We not only had this private access to the Masters behind a privately owned limited production distillery, we learned all about their whiskies and their amazing work ethic. Stay tuned to Eve Wine 101 this October to read all about their new Single Barrel 10-year Kentucky Straight Rye and their Barrel Strength Toasted Barrel Finish Rye as well! (We also plan to visit with them again this weekend at the Kentucky Bourbon Fest!) Link to photos here.
Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), a “certification in the first globally-recognized course” as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), Level 1 Sake Award from WSET, was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video (over 16k views), authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Proof Awards, Cellarmasters, LA Wine Competition, Long Beach Grand Cru and the Global Wine Awards. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits.