Michter’s Single Barrel 10yo Bourbon has just been released in Australia, available from Dan Murphy’s, and is one of the finest drops we’ve ever tasted. Experts all over the world are loving it (check the Whiskey Vault review below), proving Michter’s to be worthy of the “Best American Whiskey” accolade awarded by Food & Wine magazine.
With Father’s Day coming up, you could do a lot worse than getting a bottle of the brown stuff for the old man. At a price tag of $250 it’s best for special occasions (c’mon he’s worth it!), so in case you both need a quick brush up on your whiskey facts we checked in with a few experts on the finer bullet points of this sweet, barreled spirit.
Age isn’t everything
“A lot of bar owners tell me about customers who come in and ask for the oldest whiskey on the bar. Just because a spirit might be very old doesn’t necessarily guarantee it will be better than its younger counterpart. Some spirits actually lose their character if they are over aged, and they can tend to converge into all tasting like wood, whether they are whiskey, rum or tequila. Let your nose and taste buds guide you.”
“It also depends on when you are drinking your whiskey. Before a meal, it’s good to have something lively whereas something soft and mellow is often more appealing after you have eaten.”
“It is often said that the best drink is the drink in your hand, but it also depends on the time of day and situation in which you are enjoying it.”
James France, founder of premium spirits importing and distribution company Vanguard Luxury Brands.
Price doesn’t always equal quality
“Whiskey doesn’t ‘show price’ the way some wines or foods do. A higher price tag does not always indicate a superior product, just as the cheap stuff isn’t necessarily swill. Bourbon, for example, has become big business; a booming industry with annual global sales numbers that flirt with the $10 billion mark. All this means to us whiskey drinkers is that we need to watch our backs. Do your homework. Know your distillers and the quality of the products they offer. And trust your palate, not your wallet. Nobody wants to be the guy having to pretend that a $65 shot tastes transcendent, while all his drinking buddies know it’s bunk.”
Try it neat and breathe through your mouth
“If you’re tasting a whiskey for the first time, you have to approach it neat. (The moment you add water or ice the molecules break apart and the flavour changes.) Put the whiskey under your nose, but breathe through your mouth so you get a nice soft airflow. If you go in for a huge whiff you’re going to assault your palette and numb it, and the nuances of the flavour will be lost. When you take a sip, try to hold the liquid in your mouth for 20 to 30 seconds so you can taste the evolution of the spirit before swallowing.”
… But there’s no wrong way to drink it
“I’ve learned not to judge. Everyone likes different types of whiskey and drinks them differently. With water, ice, neat—there is no wrong way to drink a whiskey. I mean, it can be frustrating to talk to a customer for 10-15 minutes about a certain whisky and then they order it with cranberry juice, but hey, it’s their choice.”
Mixing isn’t rocket science
“There are four main types of whiskey to choose from when cocktailing. Bourbon whiskey (minimum 51% corn plus malted barley and wheat/rye), rye whiskey (minimum 51% rye grain), wheat whiskey (minimum 51% wheat grain) and corn whiskey (must contain at least 80% corn grain). When tasting the different types you need to look for the qualities of corn, wheat, barley and rye to distinguish one from the other. You’ll be able to pick up a range of flavours from spice, caramel, and the barrel itself.”
Think beyond the Old Fashioned
“A well-made Old Fashioned or Manhattan works wonders to showcase whiskey’s elegant simplicity, but dig a little deeper and familiarize yourself with equally badass drinks like the Brooklyn, Lion’s Tail, Toronto, Brown Derby, American Trilogy, and Tipperary. Whiskey loves to open up and expose hidden complexities, and cocktails are an efficient means to that end.”
-Beau Burtnick, bar manager at SuperBite and Kask in Portland
So what about the Michter’s 10yo Bourbon?
Mature in age and truly exceptional in quality, Michter’s 10 Year Single Barrel Bourbon has earned its place as an enduring favourite of the most discerning whiskey connoisseurs. Think big and bold dark toffee and caramel, charred oak, maple syrup, and hints of vanilla.
The “Best American Whiskey” according to Food & Wine magazine, the Michter’s 10 Year Single Barrel Bourbon represents the culmination of over a decade of patient ageing in specially chosen, new charred American white oak barrels.
There’s a limited production and availability here in Australia, so be sure to grab a bottle from Dan Murphy’s quick.