Michter’s Toasted Barrel Finish Bourbon (2018) Review

Michter's Toasted

Last year, we brought you the story of Michter’s – the brand 264 years in the making.   We took a bit of a cheap shot at the Michter’s lineage and the lack of a tangible connection between the Michter’s brands that date back to 1753, and the name bought following the brand owner’s bankruptcy in the early 2000’s.   But then we backpedaled a bit, recognizing that Michter’s president, Joe Magliocco, himself had a history with Michter’s.

While that history may be interesting as to an appreciation of the Michter’s brand today (you should check it out), this review centers around another story:  Michter’s and its toasted barrel finishes.

In 2014, Michter’s released its first “Toasted Barrel Finished” Bourbon.  That product was a standard batch of Michter’s US*1 Bourbon (which we reviewed last year), but finished in a new toasted, not charred, oak barrel.  That barrel was purportedly toasted over an open flame of its own wood for 60 minutes.  There the bourbon rested for 26 days.

In 2017, Michter’s continued the story by releasing a rye finished in toasted barrels as well.  We reviewed it last year, and were a bit unimpressed, finding that the barrel took away much of the qualities that we enjoyed in the regular Barrel Strength Rye.  

When the 2018 Michter’s Toasted Barrel Finish Bourbon, we grabbed up a bottle.  Eric Schoeder and I sat down for a review.

Michter’s US*1 Toasted Barrel Bourbon (91.4 Proof)

Nose:  An initial wave of grilled meat and grilled corn husks; butterscotch and possibly some maple syrup; caramel and vanilla; baking spice; dusty and slightly nutty.  No alcohol burn at all.   Different and enjoyable.  (3.5/5)

Palate:  Sweet Corn Pops cereal; buttered grilled corn; brown sugar frosting; hazelnut, vanilla and caramel flavored coffee syrups. A bit thin.  (3/5)

Finish:  Short.  More overly sweet Corn Pops cereal with just the slightest hint of baking spice.  One dimensionally sweet.  (2/5)

Overall:    We weren’t the biggest fans of the regular US*1 Bourbon, and while this is an improvement, it is still just a bit less than satisfying.  The underlying bourbon notes are young.  While the barrel finish does seem to add some complexity, the palate and finish are just overly sweet.  And compared to what Michter’s accomplished with the Toasted Barrel Rye, the lower proof on this is a detriment.  (2.5/5)

Value:   We appreciate that Michter’s didn’t slap a $100 price tag on this, but even at $50 we would like a bit more complexity.  (2.5/5)

“While the barrel finish does seem to add some complexity, the palate and finish are just overly sweet.”

Michter's Toasted

Scott Hill

Scott is a co-founder of Flight Club and a frequent writer and reviewer on the Club’s blog.

2 Replies to “Michter’s Toasted Barrel Finish Bourbon (2018) Review”

  1. Scott,
    Thanks for your review.
    I normally like Michter’s offerings. As a point of reference, would you mind sharing a few expressions you really like? Thank You. John

    1. I’m a big fan of the Michter’s Ryes. We reviewed the Barrel Strength Rye last year and it is really solid. I’m not a huge Michter’s bourbon fan, whether it be the standard US*1, this Toasted Barrel Finish, or the 10 year. It isn’t bad, but I just don’t think it holds up to its price. For this price, I’d grab an Old Forester 1920 or 1897, a Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit, a midrange priced MGP, a Four Roses Single Barrel, a Blanton’s, or a Baker’s, just to pick a few competitors with similar prices, ages and proofs from some of the big distilleries.

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