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Michter's Single Barrel Straight Rye barrel # 4L3


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Michter's Single Barrel Straight Rye barrel # 4L3p, 84.8 proof

Nose: Closed. Sappy. Oaky. Very lightly floral and spicy. Where it is supposed to speak volumes, as ryes normally do, you'd need a hearing-aid to hear it whisper.

Palate: The nose confirms it: very light. Oaky yet it seems quite young. Flawless yet uninspiring.

Finish: Short and slightly astringent with mellowing marshmallow-sweetness at the very end.

Comment: Clean and light, this could be a beginner's rye. Then again, in my book a rye whiskey shuold be bold and demanding - not like a bland straight bourbon - this is not, so what would be the point? Ultimately bland and bland and bland and dull.

Have a great weekend, folks!

/Rob

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I had some of this last night.

Rob's description is true and yet not true, in the sense that much depends on the state of the palate when tasting this whiskey. Last night I tasted it after downing a pint of Guinness Stout (a very fresh, flavorful pint as served at a local bar). I could hardly taste the whiskey - Rob's description is perfect. Yet at other times when I hadn't had anything to eat or drink before tasting this single barrel rye, the whiskey made a definite impression - its subtleties and flavor were quite apparent.

As many here have noted, the same whiskey can taste SO different depending on the time, mood and many other factors.

Gary

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Just to clarify, is this the bottling known as "US-1"?

Michter's U.S.-1, I believe, is a blended whiskey -- or, at least, non-bourbon. There also are a 10yo single-barrel Michter's bourbon, and a straight rye, which have begun showing up in our distribution area, too, in the last month or so in the mid-$20s price range.

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Okay I found this site. http://www.michters.com/ and hope this will help clear up...

From the site Timothy references and from Rob's original post, it appears that not only is this not a blend, but is a single barrel straight rye. I expect there may be quite a bit of variation between barrels, as my fading memory of the bottle I had about 6 months ago was that it was much livelier than Rob's notes infer.

However, since I'm riding so high on Rittenhouse BIB, I'm not sure I'll get another US1 too soon. While I liked the US1 quite a bit (and it made decent Manhattans), to my taste buds the Rittenhouse is more mature and the best value in whiskey. It is certainly more robust, at 100 proof, than the US1.

The questions I have about the US1 are: who owns the Michters brand name now, and from where does the whiskey come? Is Chatham Imports a dba, bottler, etc? I expect these are rhetorical questions.

Roger

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There's a post about the ownership of this brand written by Julian here: http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads-6.5/showthread.php?t=1544

I also ran across a post from Julian that I find slightly confusing from him:

http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads-6.5/showthread.php?t=2438

I'm thinking this is a reference to the Rye whiskey and not to the rye formula bourbon CoK (which has been discused as the source of Stagg). Has anyone ever run across CoK Rye?

Unfortunately you have to scroll down to find Julians post.(I'm either not familiar with how to get it to go there or it's a new issue that will likely get fixed soon)

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Tim,

US-1 is a rye whiskey. Is it really a blend?

Joe

Right you are, Joe -- seems both the 'unblended' whiskey and the rye both are named U.S.-1. I didn't realize that.

The second bottling apparently is 'whiskey' because of the used oak barrels.

It is the two 10yos -- bourbon and rye -- that I've begun seeing around here.

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There was an interesting post by Drew about the 10yo rye actually being from 83-84. Of course that was 4 months ago and there could have been a change back to younger stock, but it might be an interesting thing to pick up, just in case.;)

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  • 2 months later...

My recent WhiskyFest compatriots will vouch for my seemingly aimless mumbling (Something to the effect of, "Why's it $30 cheaper at home? We don't get deals like that in Tennessee!") at Binny's and Sam's in Chicago as I perused the Michter's 10yo bourbons and ryes priced at $56.99. I just shrugged it off, figuring I'd mistaken something I thought I'd seen locally, and didn't think about again till today when I saw some in an area store for that same $56.99 price. THAT confirmed to me I'd been mistaken about the local price, but glancing down a shelf, I spotted the Michter's US-1 whiskey and rye, which WERE $30 less -- and the bottles were distinctively different.

Well, you know what I did when I got back in my neighborhood, of course -- I made a beeline to the store where I thought I'd seen the 10yo single-barrels for the US-1 prices. Sure enough, both were still marked $26.99 -- so I grabbed one of each for less combined than either one ought to be. There were still at least two of each on the shelf.

So, should I have tipped off the storeowner he apparently has $56 whiskey priced as its $26 sibling? Or should I go back and grab the rest before somebody does point out his mistake and it's too late?

Really, I don't feel at all morally culpable for taking an item for the price offered -- it's not like I talked him down or anything. They've been at that price since January. Still, he's technically guilty of illegal pricing (selling below his cost, not allowed in TN), unless the distributor screwed up its pricing to him, in which case he's in for a heckuva surprise when he eventually reorders.

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Virus_Of_Life
THAT confirmed to me I'd been mistaken about the local price, but glancing down a shelf, I spotted the Michter's US-1 whiskey and rye, which WERE $30 less -- and the bottles were distinctively different.

Well, you know what I did when I got back in my neighborhood, of course -- I made a beeline to the store where I thought I'd seen the 10yo single-barrels for the US-1 prices. Sure enough, both were still marked $26.99 -- so I grabbed one of each for less combined than either one ought to be. There were still at least two of each on the shelf.

So, should I have tipped off the storeowner he apparently has $56 whiskey priced as its $26 sibling? Or should I go back and grab the rest before somebody does point out his mistake and it's too late?

Tim, if I were you I'd do the same thing I recently did when I noticed BMH 16yo mistakenly priced and shelf tagged as 14yo (not as big of a difference as your Michters, but still a good deal!) and GO BACK and buy the other two! I am sure at some point down the road when you are drinking them you'll be glad you did. Just my thoughts though...

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...GO BACK and buy the other two!..

Actually, Christian, I did a little better than that -- I cleaned him out! For which he gave me an additional 10% off, which offset local sales tax:grin:.Although he had just two more of the bourbons, there were six ryes which, as you can see below, were indeed priced at $26.99. Still disbelieving, I checked both Sam's (where the U.S.-1 is $32.99 and there is no 10yo) and Binny's (10yo bourbon, $49.99; 10yo rye, $59.99; U.S.-1s, $29.99) websites again this morning. Seems I saved over $300 on the 10 bottles.

post-367-14489812313093_thumb.jpg

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Tim you got a great buy but also great spirits there. I don't know the bourbon that well but the rye I do and it is superlative. It has what I call the "damask curtains" taste, a very complex taste of fruit, grain, barrel, age and I don't know what. It is a taste that I believe is a very old American straight whiskey taste, I recognised it in the Monticello rye from the 30's John Lipman brought to the Gazebo at the last KBF (it also had a fruity overlay we were all trying to figure out, might have been bottle age, might have been the yeasts of the time, I thought). Another thing with the Michter's 10 year old rye (which apparently was UDV (now Diageo) production - it used to own Bernheim) is it actually gets better in the bottle. It becomes richer and deeper as the air works on it. A very fine drink which represents a traditional taste in American whiskey that is little found today (only ORVW 12 and 13 year old ryes approach it, so do some bottles of EC 18 year old albeit a bourbon).

I don't as I say know the bourbon but I would be surprised if it isn't top quality. It too apparently is UDV-era, so it might have been in a younger format IW Harper, possibly.

Gary

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Gary, your description prompted me to open a bottle (hey, I'm entitled -- I found it!). I won't do a complete 'tasting note' here, but some impressions based on your comments:

  • Grain -- smells like the grain bin in the barn's milk house from which we fed the milk cows when I was a kid. Great smell in itself, but it also reminded me immediately of the 2004 Sazerac 18yo, which I thought was too simple for an 18yo whiskey. Definitely some black pepper/spice on the palate, which I equate to the rye;
  • Fruit -- there is an underlay of what strikes me as lemon peel on both the nose and tongue.
  • Barrel --mostly present on the finish; plenty of drying, leathery tannin.
  • Age -- just starting to show some. There's still a lot of grain sense in the flavor, but no souring on the finish which I sometimes equate to a lack of barrel 'rounding'.
  • "...and I don't know what..." -- I sense something Jeff might call 'lavender', and you suggest might be yeast. Me, I remember that Dad asked the operator of the grain truck that used to come to the farm and use our grains to make the cattle feed to add 'malt' -- I don't know if it was barley malt, rye malt, corn malt, or wheat malt -- but we didn't grow rye, so maybe it's the 'malt'-iness that was added that made it smell like this rye whiskey.

Overall, I think Michter's 10yo Single-Barrel Rye is closest in style/substance to Sazerac 18yo among today's rye whiskeys. It has an almost identical nose, but a noticably lighter touch of wood, though enough to soften the graininess without overwhelming it. Its taste treads a fine line between complexity and simple pleasures, ending with the rye-traditon 'peppermint stick' finish.

Very good whiskey. Let me live with it awhile, however, before asking me to locate its spot in the Pantheon.

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Nicely put, Tim, thanks. It really does benefit too from aeration, you have a bottle there that will just get better. To me it is much better than Sazerac 18 which as you said is a little simple for a rye that age. That Sazerac might be likened to a pretty, vibrant actress when young (the Sazerac rye released last year at 6-7 years barrel age); when older everything is in place (fixed smile, shoulder length hair) but on a mature frame and it needs adjustment to show its best at that age. Change the hairstyle - put that barrel on a different rick - change the make-up - ease up on the cycling if you use it - and see if it comes into its own. If it doesn't, it may not benefit from the extra years in the barrel: at most they don't add much or slightly detract from the article in its prime. The 10 years aged Michter's rye - in fact it is more like about 15 years old I believe - seems however at the apex of its potential (and possibly could be aged another couple of years with benefit) - as you said it is on the borderline of simple youth and mature elegance - a nice place to be.

Gary

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  • 10 months later...
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I picked up a bottle of the Rye yesterday for 22 and some change. I haven't had a chance to try it though.

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