Today we bring you a review of Michter’s US*1 Sour Mash Whiskey.
Previously, we brought you the story of Michter’s – the brand 264 years in the making. We first 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 obtained 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.
We have reviewed the US*1 Bourbon and the 10-Year Bourbon, the US*1 Rye and the US* Barrel Strength Rye, and the Toasted Barrel Finish Bourbon and Toasted Barrel Finish Rye. But now we focus on this Michter’s US*1 Sour Mash Whiskey, a bottle that I’ve not seen previously in our market.
What exactly is this product that is labeled only as a “whiskey”?* According to Michter’s, “with its unique grain selection, it cannot be categorized as a rye or a bourbon.” What does this mean? We can speculate. To be a Bourbon, the mash must be at least 51% corn. To be a Rye, the mash must be at least 51% rye. The default, if neither of those is met, is merely the name “whiskey.” If we fairly speculate that the mash contains a small (but not insignificant) amount of barley, then likely this approaches 45-50% on both the rye and the corn, without going over. Likely, the rye may be the dominate grain.
[*Note – Michter’s also releases a US*1 American Whiskey. That mashbill is also not disclosed. However, unlike this Sour Mash Whiskey, the American Whiskey uses “Whiskey-soaked American white oak barrels,” which is just a fancy way of saying “used oak barrels.” Both Bourbon and Rye, by definition, must be in new oak containers. Therefore, neither the US*1 American Whiskey nor the US*1 Sour Mash Whiskey can be labeled as “Bourbons,” but for different reasons.]
Michter’s US*1 Sour Mash Whiskey (86 Proof) (NAS)
Nose: Brown sugar simple syrup; chocolate drink powder; honey; floral stem; cornbread; blackberry, plum and black grape skin; rye/herbal spice and white pepper; fresh sanded yet still musty oak. A very Wild Turkey like nose. Exciting! (3.5/5)
Palate: Floral stem; pepper and baking spice; caramel and brown sugar; herbal (pine?); vanilla; plum and blackberry; apple cider; baking chocolate. This opens up with time in the glass to reveal some pretty tasty and complex rye notes. (3/5)
Finish: Slightly tart, like a sour apple or under ripe blackberry; lingering rye herbalness; dry oak. A bit underwhelming. (2.5/5)
Overall. This is a solid “3+” for me. I’m a big Wild Turkey fan. And this reminds me of a very drinkable blended Turkey – not quite their Rye, not quite their Bourbon, but in the nature of their overall profile. Michter’s Sour Mash Whiskey has its flaws – slightly astringent and a bit tart. Plus it is only 86 proof. But it’s satisfying nonetheless. (3/5)
Value: I found this online for $45. That seems o maybe slightly over par. For the same price, I think I’d be as happier (or more) with a Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit (again, I feel Turkey with this) or a store pick Russel’s Reserve diluted down. With both of those options, I’m getting more bang for the buck with this being diluted to 86 proof. (2.5/5)
“Michter’s Sour Mash Whiskey has its flaws – slightly astringent and a bit tart. Plus it is only 86 proof. But it’s satisfying nonetheless.”
Scott is a co-founder of Flight Club and a frequent writer and reviewer on the Club’s blog.