For this weeks whisky review I am going somewhere I haven’t been before – BOURBON! Bourbon whisky, or should I say whiskey, can be a little difficult to fall in love with especially if you have been drinking scotch your whole life. But with drams such as the Michter’s Toasted Bourbon I am starting to seek the dark side more and more.
Before going any further I want to touch on why Bourbon is so different to other whiskies. One of the first rules of bourbon is that it must have a minimum of 51% corn grain the remainder can a combination of barley, rye and other grains. While scotch single malt whisky must be made from 100% barley.
The biggest difference though is in the cask used. Bourbon must be made with never before used American oak. This means the base flavours disseminating from the cask tend to be very similar – you might notice there is always vanilla gliding by in all bourbons. Whereas whiskies from other parts of the world use casks that previously held other amazing products such as wine, sherry, port and so on. This way flavours from the original spirit is gifted to the whisky giving it complexity and adds a new dimension.
But every now and then a bourbon comes along that blows my mind. The Michter’s Toasted Bourbon is one such whiskey. It has gone through the standard Bourbon creation and then spends an extended period of time in another custom made barrel put together with 18-month old air dried wood and then lightly toasted. This additional step has given new life to this bourbon.
Let’s get into the whisky and review it.
The scent of this bourbon is deceiving it is light caramel, vanilla and even a touch maple syrup coming to mind. To cut through the sweetness there is a gliding note of toasted bread (nothing to do with the name of the name – pure coincidence).
This is where Michter’s Toasted Bourbon excels. There is a touch of citrus continually swirling with orange chocolate and vanilla. Mid palate the spices build up with cinnamon and cloves – these flavours compliment the sweetness immaculately. Throughout the palate, there is also a hint of smoke as if it’s gently gliding by. Such complexity and harmony are hard to find.
Finish (After Taste)
No doubt the spices dominate the finish and has all the hallmarks of a traditional bourbon mixed with slight caramel notes.
Overall, I’d highly recommend this to any scotch drinker who wants to give bourbon a go.
Check out more Whisky articles from Pranil.
If you’re keen to drink Whisky and be merry with the TVG team, join us for our First Annual Paper Plates whisky degustation dinner in Sydney on the 14th of December. Head to the TVG Store for tickets!