Michter’s 10 Year Straight Rye Whiskey
The 2017 incarnation of Michter’s 10 Year Rye is the first release greenlit by new Master Distiller Pamela Heilmann. If you had concerns about quality lost in the changeover from Willie Pratt—and I’ll confess that I did, simply because the 2016 release was that good—let go of them. Right now. This is excellent whiskey and worth every cent of its top-shelf MSRP.
The nose on M10R is a storybook grandmother’s kitchen: brown sugar, sweet caramel, and banana bread. This is something of a departure from last year’s batch, which did have hints of sweetness but also featured a more pronounced spiciness (mainly a mix of cinnamon and black pepper). As with last year, the texture is all velvet. Unlike 2016, Heilmann’s initial rye run has primary notes of wood and leather, with background hints of banana bread, cinnamon, and citrus. This isn’t a “hot” whiskey by any means (and at 92.8 proof, I didn’t expect it to be), and it’s finish isn’t massive in terms of burn, but it seems to linger forever. More importantly, M10R comes with the signature warmth from start to finish that makes it—in my humble opinion—the best rye on the market for the second straight year, which is really saying something given my affinity for WhistlePig 10.
For all of this praise, there is also a catch. While not as absurdly difficult to find on store shelves at the Van Winkle line or the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection, Michter’s 10 Year offerings (not to mention the unattainable 25 Year special release) are moving in that direction. As more and more folks find out just how good these bottles are, the more the flippers take notice, and the higher secondary prices climb. I’m generally not an advocate of bottle hoarding. But if you find a few of these on the shelf at MSRP, grab them all, they’re worth the investment.
Value: Normally, at $150, I would have a hard time giving a bottle two thumbs up in this category, but M10R is the exception that proves the rule for me. If you can find this at MSRP, buy it.
Drinkability: Highest. (Though, ironically, I’d probably share bottles with much higher price tags on the secondary market with house guests before I parted with too many drams of this one.)
Overall: 9.4 (edges 2016 by a tenth of a point)