Saturday, March 21, 2020

Michter's Limited Release Barrel Strength Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey - Barrel No. 19C394

VITALS:
- $80
- 112 Proof
- NAS
- Barrel No. 19C394
- Kentucky

There once was a time, not that long ago, that this stuff just sat on shelves gathering dust. In fact, the last time that I reviewed this release, back in 2015, that was exactly the case. That was a bottle that I had been eyeing for a while, and eventually pulled the trigger.

This bottle, however, was one that never made it to the shelf. Because it's gotten so scarce (perhaps a combination of lack of supply and increase in demand), it was treated as allocated and held in back. I only got the chance to buy the bottle due to my local store's manager knowing my love of rye and letting me know it came in.  I didn't even know to ask for it, it had gotten so far off my radar.  I only hoped it'd be as good as I remembered.

Pine and caramel dominate the nose, along with a touch of oaky bitterness. It smelled like a sweet Pacific Northwest forest. It also had some sweet cinnamon notes, and at times it smelled to me like fresh baked oatmeal cookies with just a touch of molasses. All in all, it smelled like a bold but sweet rye whiskey.

The first thing I noticed when I took my first sip was the very oily texture of this rye. It had a great viscosity that coated the glass and my mouth.  This viscosity seemed to take the flavor from the whiskey and just hit me from all angles. Luckily, that flavor was great, and I still couldn't get enough of it.

It had more of a vanilla undertone than I'd expect from a rye, and certainly than I would have expected given the nose. On top of that, however, was all brown sugar and cinnamon, giving a great baked goods type of sweet and spicy.

It had a light woody note to it, but not as strong as was on the nose. It was more of a nutty type of wood note, like walnut. It also had something bright to it to balance that out, kind of a mix of sweet apple and plum that I really enjoyed. At times I got hints of a spearmint-vanilla flavor as well that added a bit of brightness.

In the end, though, this is a bold, spicy rye, and the sweet cinnamon note was front and center, and that's the flavor that seemed to linger long on the finish. After I first opened this, I then set it to the side for a while, knowing that it likely wouldn't last. When I went back to this bottle, that was exactly the case, and I found myself plowing through the rest in a couple days. I absolutely love this rye and only wish it were more available, but such is the industry these days.

Grade: A

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