Michter's Single Barrel Rye 25 Year Old 117.3 proof NV (1 BT75)
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Michter's Single Barrel Rye 25 Year Old 117.3 proof NV
Barrel no. 13G119, bottle no 27 of 44, ullage: top shoulder, original neck tag, carton damaged and differs from bottle
1 bt 75cl (nop)
Starting in the mid-2000s, Michter’s was arguably the first American whiskey to join Old Rip Van Winkle as a truly world-class luxury brand. The Michter’s name originated in the decades after World War II, when a Pennsylvania businessman named Lou Forman named a distillery after his sons, Michael and Peter. But the Pennsylvania whiskey industry was in a steady and terminal decline, and the distillery shut its doors in 1990.
Six years later, Joseph Magliocco, the president of New York-based Chatham Imports, acquired Michter’s abandoned trademark and moved its base of operations to Kentucky. There, he and his team began buying up barrels of well-aged whiskey from the state’s distilleries. To those distilleries, older, richer whiskey was too out of character to blend with younger spirits to create the cheaper brands they were used to selling.
Magliocco had a different vision, one in which well-aged American whiskey could be sold alongside premium single-malt whiskey. He hired Julian Van Winkle III to bottle his bourbon and rye at his facility in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, and released them in 10-, 20-, and 25-year-old expressions. He bought whiskey from different distilleries, and through Van Winkle he reportedly acquired a sizeable number from the legendary Stitzel-Weller distillery, which went into some of the early bottlings of Michter’s. After Van Winkle moved his operation to Buffalo Trace, Michter’s, like several others of his clients, transferred bottling to Kentucky Bourbon Distillers, aka Willett.
Despite their being sourced from multiple distilleries, these whiskeys share a common set of characteristics, a Michter’s house style – big and chewy, full of tobacco and caramel, and despite their advanced age not at all oaked, unlike some other comparable whiskeys.
According to multiple sources, several of the 10-year-old releases, including many of the bottles on in this auction (LOTS #483-#487), were in fact significantly older than that, some up to 16 and even 19 years old, but at the time Michter’s didn’t think that it would be worth the effort to change the labels. And while Michter’s does not share much information about its sources, reliable sources say that several of the legendary earlier 20 and 25 year olds (LOTS #477-#481), released up to the mid-2010s, came from barrels of Stitzel-Weller.
Michter’s later distilled its whiskey through a contract with another distillery before finally opening its own distillery outside Louisville. It also continues to release the occasional batch of 20- and 25-year-old whiskey, all of it quite good, but nothing that compares to the exquisite beauty of those first early, now vanishingly rare releases. Michter’s is, again, one of the few whiskeys to stand alongside Van Winkle at the top of the luxury market, if not slightly above it – Van Winkle, after all, comes out every year, while Michter’s releases, especially at the 20- and 25-year-old mark, are rare and unpredictable.
Please note that all spirits are sold for collection in New York or shipment to the District of Columbia, New Hampshire and New York via specialized carriers. For delivery outside of the United States, please see Important Information for Purchases at Wine and Spirit Sales in the Conditions of Business.