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2013 Michter's Single Barrel Cask Strength 20 Year Old Bourbon Whiskey (750ml)
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- ABV 57.1%
The man behind this classic and now rejuvenated American whiskey brand (est.1753) is Willie Pratt. His 40 years in the industry has included a spell at Brown-Forman where he was involved in detailed studies of barrel maturation and the optimisation of distilling and ageing environments to maximise whiskey flavour. Referred to as “Dr. No” by the Michter’s salespeople, Willie is known for refusing to release whiskey for bottling until he feels it's just right, even though the whiskey may already be significantly older than the age stated on the label. Additionally, he insists on storing Michter’s barrels in not commonly found heat-cycled warehouses, which increases evaporation rates and gives the accountant headaches. He's helped out by Pam Heilmann whose extensive experience includes time as manager at Booker Noe Distillery in Boston. Together they're very specific about the seasoning and toasting regimes of the wood they use. They also insist on barrelling at a lower proof (103 instead of the standard 125), a practise which is claimed to allow the sugars in the toasted oak to dissolve more readily into the distillate as it cycles in and out of the barrel. Chill filtration is undertaken but customised to each whisky's style. In short, this duo are more than a little fanatical.There are three tiers in the Michter's range - which is a little confusing at first. The "US*1" expressions are the entry level expressions, so named to honor Michter’s heritage harkening back to America’s first whiskey company. Washington and his troops drank Michter’s while they were hunkered down in Valley Forge. Then come the age statements, 10-20 years, and finally, there's a selection of ultra-aged 25 year old+ super limited bottlings. Those who have followed this brand for longer than we have should also note one further clarification with regard to the provenance of the current bottlings. Joshua Feldman from www.cooperedtot.com explains:- "I love Michter's. But which Michter's? There are two. There is what we'll call "old Michter's" the Pennsylvania distillery in Schaefferstown that people known as Michter's - and which marketed itself as Michter's but was actually named Pennco for most of the recent past and Bomberger's Distillery before that. That distillery has been closed since 1990. It is most famous for one particular 1974 contract run of Bourbon made for a guy named Hirsch and aged for a heck of a long time.
Meanwhile, there is a brand of Bourbon, whiskey, and rye sold in many stores called Michter's which is made by an unrelated company... We'll call that "new Michter's". New Michter's has extensive distribution for a company producing small quantities - and an excellent reputation for quality offerings at the high end of their line. You frequently see particular issues highly sought after in the Bourbon enthusiast community". Tasting note: Deep copper with gold ochre edges. Opening aromas of boot polish and old leather gradually give way to deep scents of buttered nuts and toasted popcorn. Returning after 4-5 minutes of air contact finds top notes of vanilla fudge amid flashes of apricot jam, dilute maple syrup and cocoa. Tongue nipping peppers have barely tamed with extended age in what's otherwise a concentrated yet nicely rounded attack; with delicate bitter-sweetness in the early stages, finding more definition towards the finish as rich, nutty, vanilla soaked flavours enter. Late sugars vie with the penetrating oak. Concludes long, dry and leathery with the paprika peppers driving the aftertaste. If you spend less than 10-15 minutes on this brooding effort you won't be doing it justice. One to savour. 57.1% Alc./Vol. Other reviews... [Barrel No. 1646 tasted] A soothing bourbon, with maple syrup, blackberry preserve, polished leather, roasted nuts, marzipan, vanilla toffee, dusty dates, subtle tobacco, and a hint of pedro ximinez sherry. Soft, flavorful finish. The oak is kept in check, with layered sugars and fruit for balance. The price of admission is steep, but this whiskey is very satisfying. 93 points 57.1% Alc./Vol.
- www.maltadvocate.com, (Spring 2013) Reviewed by: John Hansell