Monday, March 31, 2014

Review: Michter's 20-year - A tête-à-tête of three impossible beasts!

Sometimes it's good to be a beast.  Like tonight as we sit in front of three impossible glasses of bourbon...



3 Glasses, 3 Impossible Whiskies

On the left: Michter's Celebration.  Coming in at over three thousand dollars a bottle, this redonkulous beast was snagged recently by Josh Feldman of Coopered Tot and ended up being donated to the beast.  Last week's review left us less than amazed by this bottle, so we called in some reinforcements for a Michter's redemption...

Source?  Rumored to be a mix of Michter's 20-Year Bourbon, 25-Year Rye, and some of the newer expressions, designed to mimic the historic Pennco Michter's Whiskey.  

In the middle: Michter's 20-Year Bourbon Batch 13H-216.  A very affordable :) five hundred dollar per bottle 20-year bourbon brought over by The Amazing Jasinski during one of the more outrageous whiskey nights in recent memory.

Source?  Hotly contested.  This is last year's batch of Michter's 20-Year (2013).  Many think it's from the same stocks of Stitzel-Weller from which the original and now legendary Michter's 10-year bottles were sourced.  Others argue it's old stock of Heaven Hill or Brown Foreman.

On the right:  Michter's 10-Year Bourbon batch 7k-3.  Remember that legendary original Michter's 10-Year we were just talking about?  Yup, this is it.  At the original retail price, these bottles went for around $70 (so you could have bought around forty of them for the current price of Celebration).

Source?  Somewhat less contested, this one is widely agreed to be the first run of Michter's 10-year, sourced from an early 1990's run of Stitzel-Weller before the distillery closed.


Nose to Nose to Nose

Celebration:  Again this smells like Old Forester bourbon with a touch of rye thrown in.  It's good but a little sharp, some bitterness, and just not blowing out minds.

20-Year:  Whoa now!  Hold the phone.  This is the bomb!  Huge buttery brown sugar bourbon explosion.  Like melted chocolate bars floating in vanilla extract topped with fresh whipped cream.  Forgive our french, but this shit just makes you want to dive in and swim around in the glass for a few hours.

10-Year 7k:  Interesting.  Similar to the 20-Year, except a lot more subtle.  Granted this one is 94.4 proof, versus the monster 114.2 barrel proof on the 20-year.

Victor:  The Michter's 20-year totally dominates the nose, really not even close.

Body to Body to Body

Celebration:  The same reaction as last week.  It's like a decent brown-foreman whiskey crossed with a young barrel proof rye.  Spice and heat and some alcohol kick.

20-Year:  Again this is just everything we look for in a bourbon.  We'd be pretty shocked if this wasn't Stitzel-Weller.  It's just got that huge bourbon-ness that made Pappy famous.  From the Old Fitzgerald that Pappy distilled back in his day, to the greatest of the pre-Buffalo Trace Van Winkles, this is what bourbon is all about.

10-Year 7k:  Again it's very good, but the 20-Year has ruined us for all other whiskey forever.  The old 10-year is really nice, it's round and rich and next to many other bourbons, it probably kills.

The Clear Victor

Michter's 20 is by a large margin the supreme victor in this battle.  And aside from that it's among the best bourbons we've ever tried.


Bravo!  /SB

12 comments:

  1. Amen. This is exactly why I gave you the sample. I knew you could do it justice with a head to head of worthy peers. ...and my impressions exactly. I could have called the outcome of this one a mile away.

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    1. It wasn't a tough call by any means. There are situations where it's really a matter of taste or preference. This wasn't one of them. I firmly believe that anyone from off the street who had never tasted bourbon before would have the same exact reaction. Anyway, Josh you can rest assured that if you come bearing whiskey ($3k or otherwise) you'll not be turned away! :) Now on to our Dr. Frankenstein bourbon experiment. MUHAHAHAHA!

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  2. Thanks for the review on the 20 year. Do you know the barrel number? I've been eyeing a bottle of the 20 at a local shop with barrel number 13H215, bottle 109 of 248

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    1. This was the next door neighbor - 13H216. You probably will be very happy with that bottle..

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    2. ...and next door to the 13H217 that I managed to procure a while back. Thanks for all that you do SmokyBeast!

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    3. Thanks for your support! We should get together for a Michter's 20 tasting hahaha! Now, how to get our hands on some of the 25-year....

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  4. After reading your review I had to try the 20yr Michter's. I've been looking for a bourbon that blows me away. Finally broke down and bought a bottle I have been eying at a local shop. 1st night, damn good, not quite as good as my expectations. After open for one week, wow! Just like you said, you want to jump in and swim around, a real experience. The way they balance the 114 proof is incredible, yeah it's good with a drop of water but you can drink this straight up!

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    1. Haha good stuff, David. Doesn't it suck when you get to the point that to be "blown away" you have to spend four or five hundred dollars on a bottle?? :) But yes this one is really just that good. We just got our hands on a wheated Wllett 20 year bourbon and hope that it's in the same league. Stay tuned!

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    2. It is probably a good thing it is $400.00 and limited availability. If this and PVW 13 rye were readily available, I would have real problem!
      Look forward to the Willet 20 year review. Have a bottle of their 5 year rye; they do a heck of a job.

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  5. Just started reading your blog and I love it. I've always been into whisk(e)y but still pretty new to exploring all the great ones out there and just recently decided to really dive in. I saw the 20yr Michter's bourbon in Bowery and Vine and passed on it because of the price. Found your blog and did some other research and decided that I had to get it. Haven't tried it yet but super excited!! That fateful day I also came across the 10yr Old Rip Van Winkle and grabbed it because of the rush I was on from the Michter's purchase. Jump forward a couple days and I'm uptown for a dentist appointment and randomly come across 25yr Michter's Straight Rye!!! Had to do it!!! Got a little crazy there for a bit and haven't even tried any of them, shock is still wearing off, but my thanks for the review and can't wait to dive into mine as well. Much thanks again! Cheers!

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    1. Thanks for the kind words Sir! Wow the 25 year rye is an amazing find! We've still never had the chance to try it. You don't by any chance live in New York and want to have us over for a drink do you? :) Thanks for reading, stay tuned for the Michter's 10 Year Rye vertical coming soon!

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