Michter’s Releases 10 Year Single Barrel Bourbon

10 Year Bourbon 2016
10 Year Bourbon 2016

I’m trying to decide if all the days of my youth spent inside a candy store prepared my palate for enjoying great bourbon, or if it’s just a coincidence. Because the first sip of Michter’s highly sought-after, newly released 10-Year Single Barrel Bourbon tasted like I was chewing on a fresh-made caramel. I don’t mean to imply it was too sweet or syrupy, because at 94.4 proof, it’s still bourbon with a subtle kick. But the immediate caramel, vanilla and toasted marshmallow flavors that hit your tongue up front make you wish you could float down Willy Wonka rivers of this stuff.

The Louisville, Ky.-based Michter’s Distillery released the 10 Year to select retail outlets around the country in mid March, and it marks the first time the product has been available since December 2015. The high demand for the Single Barrel, as well as the company’s other expressions like the Single Barrel Rye Whiskey, has caused Michter’s to have to allocate its spirits both nationally and internationally.

Also, Michter’s Master Distiller Willie Pratt has quite a reputation for being a stickler when it comes to quality control. His nickname is “Dr. No” because he refuses to approve a barrel that hasn’t reached its full potential.

"I love our 10 Year Bourbon and wish we could sell it year-round, but we just don't have enough," said Pratt in a press release.

There are two production factors that could also be praised for why this product is so smooth and spot-on. Michter’s enters its bourbon and whiskeys into the barrel at 103 proof (the typical industry number is 125 proof), which allows the flavors from the barrel to dissolve in the distillate more easily. And the distillery heat-cycles its aging barrels, giving it more time to tango with the charred oak barrels than a regular Kentucky season would.

But let’s get back to the bourbon.

The sweet caramel and vanilla flavors quickly give way to a soft burn toward the back of the tongue. And the finish on this bourbon is quite smooth for a 10 year-old spirit. I also detected some fruity notes in the finish — like apple and pear — as well as a hint of spice. If you keep the bourbon on your tongue for more than 10 seconds, you’ll get a quick sting up front, followed by a sweeping taste of maple syrup with just a touch of pepper.

This bourbon took a decade to truly flourish, and it should be consumed with that in mind. Save it for milestones, memories and moments.

Michter’s 10 Year Single Barrel Bourbon retails for $120 for a 750ml bottle. If you can get your hands on one, the sweet tooth in you won’t be disappointed.