Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Michter's 10yo, GH-1
Single Barrel Bourbon Whiskey
"Michter's: the Whiskey that warmed the Revolution."
In 1753, Swiss Menonite farmer John Shenk joined the American tradition of whiskey making and built a farm distillery in Schaefferstown, PA for "local use". Within four generations the family distillery became a commercial venture (apparently on the back of supplying Washington's troops with liquid courage) and was sold.
After prohibition closed the distillery, a confusing web of tales seems to exist that this author tries to untangle, but the story seems to end the same: "sometime around 1991 everyone just up and left." Today, what was the Michter's distillery is a crumbling, weed-overrun site that scarecely looks like it ever produced anything.
The name "Michter's", however, was sold to Chatham Imports who proceeded to revive the brand with great success.
And goddamn it if this isn't just another example of how hard it is to wrap one's head around the world of American whiskey. Can't wait to finish my American "weeks" here on the mission; I don't have time for invesitgative journalism!
There still seems to be plenty of mystery surrounding the Michter's name and history that scholars far more informed on the topic than Dr. Whisky cannot seem to answer. For more info, check out Cowdery's book, click HERE or HERE, or just have a googlygander yourselves. Geneology in the world of American whiskey can be hard to navigate, but is made somewhat easier by this great online resource from Sku, Complete List of American Distilleries and Brands, which tells us who bottles this liquid (KBD), but gives no info on who produces the sauce. Heaven Hill? Other? Anyone have an idea?
Finally, this past weekend we saw the Michter's range on optic at the Roebling Tea Room in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Not something you see very often in this country so I thought it was interesting and that I would share it with you here.
Now, finally, let's taste.
Whoa. Vegetal, meaty, oraganic and gingery. Some floral notes but the meatiness persists with lamb and peanut butter, ginger again, green peas and/or soy beans. Brown sugar, clay, muddy autumn leaves, and plasticine.
Kale, vinegar and ice cream truck butterscotch. Strachy, bean-y. Perfumy vanilla. Oaky and spicy on the way out.
Firm, fun flavours, unusual ones, too, but jaw-splittingly unbalanced. It would be hard to get me to fill another glass, YES even if I added some Bernheim Wheat, rye, vinegar or applesauce. What is the point in trying to make this more appealing to me? Life is too short to drink whisky I don't enjoy and lord knows there is no shortage of fine drops to drink instead.
Now, I have examined other reviews of this and spoken with several friends about their reactions to the whiskey and although it is quite clear that David and I had a very different reaction to this whiskey than the majority of others, I stand by my (our?) opinion and only slightly reluctantly press "publish", esp in light of all the recent Dr bashing.
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