Michter’s Celebration Sour Mash
Michter’s Celebration Sour Mash. Technically, Michter’s Celebration Sour Mash Whiskey (www.michters.com, $4,000) is neither bourbon nor rye whiskey. Instead, this unique offering is a combination of both of these brown spirits—the inspired creation of Michter’s master distiller, Willie Pratt, who selected the best of the historic distillery’s bourbon and rye barrels to concoct the delicious hybrid. Pratt settled upon a combination of 30-year-old, 20-year-old, and younger whiskies for this 112.3-proof vatting, which is, in the words of the distillery’s president, Joseph Magliocco, “a very special whiskey worthy of breaking out at a very special time”—hence the festive moniker. Certainly this sour-mash whiskey fulfills the promise of its name, exuding scents of sweet, smoky fruit, candied cherries, and honeyed vanilla. Only 273 gold-etched bottles exist, each housed in a presentation case that contains a wax-sealed, hand-signed letter from Pratt. The fortunate recipients of these decanters certainly will have cause to celebrate.
Released in December 2013, this bourbon is hand selected by Master. Distiller Willie Pratt, directly from the distillery’s best barrels, which are aged at least 20 years, some more than 30. Consisting of straight bourbon and rye, this beauty holds notes of warm toasted sugar, spice, sweet fruit and vanilla. Only 273 bottles produced, this elegant
spirit is certainly one to savor.
Golden honey color. Aroma of vanilla custard, honey, dark cherries and spices. Bold notes of barrel spices, roasted corn, brown leather and mellow oak. Finishes with touches of spices, caramel, vanilla and oak mingling with each other.
Nose: Initially leads with dried fig, dark brown sugar, caramel, milk chocolate, and tobacco. Soon after, classic notes of orange, cocoa, cherry wood, cigar box and peach appear. Given a minute’s rest, toasted oak and marshmallow comingle to become s’mores. For a 116-proof spirit, it’s not overly vaporous, a real joy to nose.
Palate: Dark caramel leads on entry, followed by cocoa, orange, vanilla and hints of tobacco, nearly mirroring its aromas. A bit of heat arrives at mid-palate mingled with slightly assertive grain notes (the 33-year-old rye having a say), pronounced but balanced oak and milk chocolate revisit with grassy rye on the finish. Though highly flavorful, it’s a bit lean bodied, but that’s consistent with the house style of Michter’s whiskeys. Expectedly, the finish is robust with oak and a little grain; short lived, but pleasantly warm.