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A review of Michter’s Toasted Sour Mash

It’s been almost a year since I last wrote in this blog. I needed some time off to focus on important things like drinking without talking. I got inspired to write and talk about bourbon again after my trip to Bourbon and Beyond last weekend. While I finish up the long write up of that event, I wanted to sidetrack and post an actual review of something I got to try in Kentucky and really explored when I got home.

Saturday morning of our trip found me wandering down Whiskey Row in downtown Louisville while my wife did some insane marathon training in the hotel gym. I worked my way down to Old Forester, Peerless, and then back up to Evan Williams and they were all uneventful visits. It was my final stop to Michter’s though that blew me away. In February, Michter’s opened a second distillery directly across from the Louisville Slugger gift shop. It is an impressive site filled with a gift shop, a bar/tasting room, and original copper distilling equipment from the old Michter’s distillery in PA. It is a fully functioning distillery so even if you don’t tour, at least stop in to take in the smell of mashing grains (but more on that later).

At the last minute, I got in touch with Michter’s and asked about a tour. I got into a tour at 11:00 am and brought Blake from Bourbonr along with his wife. We had an amazing tour and a tasting and then made our way up to the 3rd-floor bar/tasting room where we got to try the Michter’s Toasted Sour Mash. The newest release to Michter’s Toasted line features Michter’s US-1 sour mash whiskey finished in toasted barrels. I really liked the pour, but didn’t have enough to write up some notes. I had acquired a bottle from a store here in Atlanta just before heading to Kentucky and I could not wait to open and explore it when I got back.

Michter’s Toasted Sour Mash Whiskey – bottle was bought by me and not provided by Michter’s.

The first time I smelled the Toasted Sour Mash, it reminded me of the mashed grain smell at the distillery. Of all the things that have stayed with me after countless distillery visits, that smell is the one thing I always talk about and long for. Nothing can replace that strong scent of baking sourdough bread and I usually only get it if I smell an empty glass of bourbon the next morning. Michter’s Toasted Sour Mash has that smell, along with some vanilla and honey, for a really fantastic nose.

At 86 proof, there is just enough of a bite to keep it from tasting too mellow. I do wish it was a little higher in proof, mainly because I could drink the entire bottle at once, but it definitely drinks higher than 86 proof. It’s got a little bit of spice and toffee upfront but quickly switches to a nice smoky flavor which I can only assume comes from the additional time spent in the toasted barrel. It fades away nicely with a buttery, caramel flavor and makes you want more.

Summary: A delicious new edition to the lineup for Michter’s. The extra time this whiskey spent in toasted barrels really brings out the sour mash and adds a wonderful smoky flavor. I am a big fan. Solid A on this one.

How to get it: The Fort Nelson location of Michter’s in downtown Louisville has a gift shop that occasionally puts out limited edition releases like the M10 Bourbon and Rye and the Toasted series. If you are in Kentucky, make sure you stop there for a visit, it’s well worth it even if you don’t snag one of these bottles. The tasting room upstairs has almost all of their pours available at affordable prices, so you can at least try some of it.