Michter’s Single Barrel Bourbon Whiskey 20 yrs

MICHTER'S SINGLE BARREL BOURBON WHISKEY 20 YRS

SPIRIT: Bourbon

VOLUME: 750 ml

ABV/PROOF: 57/114

AGE: 20 years

 It’s a rare thing to find a 20-year-old bourbon that doesn’t taste like sucking on a church pew. Michter’s produces one of the great exceptions – indeed one of the most coveted extra-aged American whiskeys ever made. 

Though Michter’s began distilling in 2013, its older releases – the 10-, 20- and 25-year-olds, and its vatted Celebration – draw from whiskey barrels that its founders bought on a buying spree across Kentucky in the late 1990s. At the time, older bourbon and rye could be had for a song, and Joe Magliocco and his business partner, Steve Ziegler, scooped up some of the best, with the steady guidance of whiskey veteran Dick Newman. They are said to have bought stocks from United (i.e., Stitzel-Weller) and Brown-Forman, and through them stocks from still other distilleries with whom they had traded barrels, a common practice at the time – though Magliocco declines to confirm the rumors, citing confidentiality agreements.

Michter’s didn’t start out planning to release a 20-year-old whiskey; the goal was simply to turn out a small number of cases of 10-year-old bourbon and rye. But the success of those whiskeys through the 2000s persuaded Magliocco to go bigger in age, and in 2012 he released his first 20-year-old bourbon. Subsequent bottlings came more or less annually, though on occasion master distiller, Dan McKee, and its master of maturation, Andrea Wilson, decided to delay a year to give the whiskey a bit more age. 

Magliocco wanted something distinctive for the packaging, and settled on a bottle design called the Diva; made in France, it has a distinctive wide shoulder that tapers toward the base, with supple, rounded edges. The bottling for Michter’s 20-year-old bourbon has always taken place at the company’s facility in Shively, outside Louisville.

The number of bottles in each release varies, though it is never more than 600-700, making it among the rarest bourbons currently in production. Every bottle is a collector’s item.

Producer: Michter’s

Misc.: Distilled in Kentucky at undisclosed sites and bottled by Michter’s.

Collectors’ tips: Michter’s began bottling itself in 2013, and its bottles feature a back label reading “Bottled by Michter’s Distillery LLC, Louisville, Kentucky 40216.” The neck label carries a designation that is standard across all contemporary Michter’s releases, in which the first two numbers designate the year it was bottled, followed by a letter that indicates the bottling month (A=January, B=February, and so on), and a three-digit proprietary code. So, for example, a bottle with the designation 21H123 was bottled in August 2021.

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