It only seems fitting that I start things off with admiration for a 10-year rye whiskey that I enjoyed on my wedding day. The Michter’s 10-year is a beautiful thing. It’s quite a bit more expensive than a bottle of Bulleit or other average mass-produced whiskeys, but in exchange you gain a considerably more complex, peppery, and oaky taste. It’s rustic and to the point and I love it. After spending 10 years in fire charred American white oak barrels you’d expect it to be a level or two above the grocery store whiskeys.
Admittedly, that’s like comparing apples to oranges but it’s a way to gauge it next to a more widely known whiskey. Yes there is a big difference in price, but the point is, it’s worth it. It’s doesn’t have to be one or the other though. You have Bulleit as a staple in your home bar for mixed drinks or the Tuesday night sip, and then bring out the 10-year for the more special occasion. This 10-year is probably more accurately compared to Whistle Pig, or Willet, or Rittenhouse, but even then, so much has to do with the vintage.
The Michter’s 10-year wasn’t available for over three years, but the re-release hit the market in April, just in time for my wedding in May. Surprised they knew. This is a very nice whiskey, not because you can’t find better ones (for extremely high prices), but for the fairly manageable price, although not every day drinking price of $110 per bottle, you get an outstandingly smooth Rye. (And no, I am not being paid by Michter’s, nor do I have stock in the company or receive free samples from them)
No need to worry though if $110 sounds out of reach. The Michter’s US1 Straight Rye ($48) will more than suffice as an every day drinking whiskey. With each bottle from a single barrel, this is a notch above most mass produced whiskeys. It’s more basic than the 10-year of course, but in a way I don’t mind at all. It definitely gives homage to the early days of drinking. I mean the really early days of the 1750’s, which is when the recipe for this straight rye was created. It’s been handed down since and is still implemented, so they say. If true, that’s pretty amazing. I know every whiskey company tries to claim the same sort of thing, but Michter’s is a true American small batch whiskey distillery. They actually process and bottle and distribute all from the same place. They don’t farm out to other distilleries like many supposed small batch whiskeys. Most importantly they produce a decent amount of product so that it’s attainable at many Bevmo’s and high-end liquor stores and isn’t out of the realm of affordability.
Of course there are the rarest of rare rye whiskeys out there, and 25-year-old bourbons I’ve never tasted that are surely amazing. But for the purpose of this post, which is to point out a great rye that’s special to me, I stand by Michter’s and put it up there with the best. They also have a 20-year rye, which isn’t nearly as attainable and will be my next step up in the ladder.
I enjoyed the Michter’s US1 Straight Rye during the United States vs. Honduras game on Tuesday. Beer is usually my beverage of choice during any USMNT game, but when you need to drown your sorrows in the gluttony of substitutions and sporadic 2nd half play that comprise most U.S. friendly matches, this is a good choice. It’s still hot in Los Angeles and I don’t have air conditioning, so I enjoyed it over a big block of ice, but it’s more than good enough to throw back neat.