Michter’s Toasted Barrel Rye

  • Distiller: Michter’s
  • Spirit: Straight Rye Whiskey
  • Aged: Unstated
  • Proof: 108.8
  • Purchase Price: $89.99

From the Distiller: “While our Michter’s team distills according to tried and true Kentucky practices, it continually experiments as it pursues Michter’s goal of making the greatest American whiskeys. Following years of research on different barrel finishes for Rye whiskey, we are proud to offer this release of our Michter’s US1 Toasted Barrel Rye. To make it we take our US1 Kentucky Straight Rye at barrel strength and then age it for an additional period in a second custom barrel. This second barrel is assembled from 24 month air-dried wood and then toasted to our specifications. The result is a unique Rye whiskey that we take pride in offering to you.”

Distillery Spotlight – Maker’s Mark

Turning into Maker’s Mark to visit the distillery is a spoiler for things to come. Beautiful scenery, a “by the bootstrap” feel of the land, and a sense of impending history. It’s a feeling of beauty and purpose that is echoed from your first steps onto the property throughout the rest of the tour.

The visitor center is a short walk from the parking lot. It’s a white sun room at the end of a round cobblestone courtyard. In the center of the modern room lies a large copper pot still. It’s a nice prelude to the tour which highlighted Maker’s Mark’s innovation without sacrificing their heritage.

For those of you who are ambassadors, let them know. They will give you a dated pin for you to wear that is a nice souvenir and tip-of-the-hat to those who support their brand. It wasn’t much, but it was strangely meaningful to have a company as large as Maker’s do something thoughtful and appreciative for it’s volunteer ambassadors.

The campus itself was beautiful and spacious. Large historic buildings pepper immaculate greens and stone walkways. The guide was incredibly passionate about the distillery, which made for a nice and informative walk full of fun facts and insights into the day-to-day workings of the distillery.

The distillery itself is a gorgeous building with slotted metal gates rather than traditional doors we’ve seen at other distilleries. This allows the air to mix with the mash fermenting and lends a signature flavor that they believe is the stamp of the Maker’s brand. Which, is poetically true. Even their water is sourced on-property. They were happy to share that no drop of Maker’s Mark comes from imported water, it’s all from their on-site fresh-water spring. Since water is such a huge part of the distillation process, it means that no other brand can truly be a Maker’s clone. They also do almost everything in-house. From printing their labels on old-fashioned printers, to dipping the bottles, the majority of the process is done by hand to preserve the processes on which the distillery was built.

The building itself is a beautiful grey with “Michter’s red” shutters. It overlooks a small stream that runs throughout the distillery grounds.

The rick houses are beautiful and laced with different local artwork collections throughout the year. This adds another nice modern twist to an otherwise historic site, and highlights the evolving culture surrounding the distillery. It gives a nice flavor of generational fusion rather than divide.

The end of the tour takes you through the bottling room and into the barreling room. They take you into a more modern rick house designed for events with a large art display front and center. They told us that this is every barrel of Maker’s Mark 46 in the world in that single room. Neat.

They then take you to a beautiful and modern tasting room and give a nice presentation. One of the nifty things was that Maker’s has 100% of their products available for tasting. We got traditional Maker’s, Cask Strength, 101 (only available at the distillery), their private select (which happened to be RC6), and Maker’s 46.

Each of these different expressions have unique character and flavor that was highlighted well by our guide. I was quite partial to the cask strength and the private select.

The nice thing is that, if you enjoyed the tasting, all five of these products were readily available in the gift shop where you can also dip your own bottle of Maker’s (which we totally nailed).

Overall, it was a very fun experience and we would highly recommend you make this a stop on the tour if you love history, innovation, pride, passion, and beautiful scenery.

2019 Whiskey Gift Guide – 6 under $60 You Can Actually Find

Shopping for people on the holidays can be a stressful experience. How do you find out what to get your loved one for the holidays without tipping them off? Well, if you’re currently reading this article, we think you know whiskey is a pretty safe option. A lot of these whiskey gift guides have been full of great pours, but, unfortunately, ones you’d be really hard pressed to actually find on a local shelf. We figured you’d take a different approach.

Below you’ll find 6 whiskies under $60 you should be able to find on your local liquor shelf with a little bit of searching in no particular order.

Michter’s American Unblended Whiskey

Michter’s American Unblended Whiskey is a product from an incredible company with a unique approach to the whiskey game. They are incredibly proud of their product.

They bottle their whiskey at a lower proof with more water to work through the wood of their barrels. This means they lower the yield of their barrels specifically to give their customer quality over quantity.

This particular bottle is pulled right when their master distiller believes the barrel to be practically perfect in every way. For an average price of $42.99, it makes a great stocking-stuffer.

Evan Williams Single Barrel

Evan Williams opened in Kentucky on the banks of the Ohio River in 1783. To this day, they are a key producer of Whiskey. Their Single Barrel release is a monument to the fact that quality doesn’t always mean an empty wallet.

For around $25, you’ll get a nice bite full of caramel, baking spices, dried orange, apple, honey, and toasted oak.

We think that, for the price, this is definitely a bottle you’ll want your loved one to have on the shelf. If for no other reason than for you to sneak a taste for yourself every now and again.

Maker’s Cask Strength

Maker’s Mark is truly a unique producer of whiskey. They are one of the last bastions of the “do-it-yourself” American frontier. They still dip each of their bottles by hand, use 100+ year old printing presses to make their labels, and own the spring from which every drop of their water is sourced. There’s a lot of pride and heritage that comes behind each of their bottles.

This bourbon is not for the feint of heart, clocking in at 110+ proof (though we usually like them hot). However, with that pour comes a lovely bouquet of flavors. Sweet, savory, and spicy are the name of the game with this straight bourbon whiskey.

This bottle will only run you around $54, which we think is a solid price for a solid and tasty pour.

Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit

Traced all the way back to 1869, Wild Turkey’s distillery is absolutely drop-dead beautiful. The scenery is incredible, and their visitor center stands as a monument to the pride they put behind their products.

Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit Single Barrel is one of those products that is a distillation of that pride and heritage.

This single barrel expression of Wild Turkey is the priciest of the selections we have on the list, coming in at an average price of $58.99. However, you’re getting a good and solid pour. Single barrels fluctuate in flavor profile from barrel to barrel, but we’ve found most pours to have great notes of vanilla and almond.

Four Roses Single Barrel

Four roses is a great distillery with a great heritage. Sales started in the mid 1960s, and were eventually moved overseas to capture the market outside the US as the world’s taste for bourbon grew. It was eventually brought back in the late 1900s for our consumption.

The four roses single barrel is a wonderful staple for any bourbon lover’s collection. Coming in at 100 proof, this pour is a nice and delicate balance between the bold heat of a well-proofed pour, and subtle and mellow flavors that lie sweet on the palate.

This pour will only run you about $31 a bottle.

Eagle Rare

This was a tough pick for us considering the name of the blog. However, outside of major metropolitan areas, we’ve found it’s not an incredibly hard bottle to come by. If you know a collector, they most likely have a few bottles they’d be willing to part with at cost.

Eagle Rare is a well known and well loved bourbon from the Buffalo Trace line. They are a company legendary for their bourbon and also for how difficult and exclusive many of their products are. However, Eagle Rare seems to be one of the easier ones to find after their main Buffalo Trace bourbon.

Any collector would be tickled pink to receive a bottle of Eagle Rare to display on their shelf. If you can find it or pull a string or two, this bourbon should only run you around $35.

Jim Beam Airbnb Promo Leaves Fans Scratching Their Heads

It had all the makings of an incredible promotional move by Jim Beam. A one night stay on the beam property. With it, all you can drink bourbon and a distillery tour. All of this, at the low price of $23, the same price as their Jim Beam black label. It was enough to make any bourbon lover ripe with desire.

However, the promotion left some scratching their heads.

The promotion was received with widespread interest, yet the distillery only gave two nights worth of availability for the rest of the year. The launch was supposed to be today, October 21st. However, it seems no one has stepped forth to claim that they have won what was supposed to be a mad dash to book the property.

Many users reported their furiously mashing the refresh button on Airbnb to try and score one of the two available nights, but were met with no availability and shortly after midnight an error message appeared stating that the listing is “no longer available.” At the time of this writing, we can confirm the error message. The listing still appears in the app but not online via computer.

The last tweet about it from Jim Beam was on October 15th, citing an article from travel and leisure which was covering their promotion.

We’re not exactly sure what has happened with the launch, but at the time of this article, there is no word or response from Jim Beam as to the status of their promotion, who won, or why the listing has been removed.

1792 Full Proof Wins “World Whiskey of The Year”

With the release of the new 2020 Whiskey Bible, in a controversial upset, the recent release of 1792 Full Proof by Sazerac Co. has taken the spot as the world’s top whiskey. It beat out William Larue Weller, which took the second spot; and Thomas Handy Sazerac Rye, which secured third.

Sazerac has a lot to be proud of with their recent successes and critical acclaim in the bourbon market. However, while the full proof has been well-received, it also hasn’t come without its critics. Scoring as low as 2/5 from many reviewers who weren’t thrilled with the overall experience, yet still scored a 97.5/100 in the Whiskey Bible.

1792 Full Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.

The entry was dripping with praise, stating: “You can only sit, eyes closed, in awe. This is a delivery of perfection: intense, seemingly no prisoners. Yet, actually, you find it has the grace to allow every character to make a speech of great erudition, ultimately a discourse of how so many facets can be singular yet together make for such glorious integration. On this evidence, Buffalo Trace has a threat to its world supremacy – from a rival distillery…they own! This is a whiskey of stand out, almost stand-alone beauty. Finding fault is not easy with something this intense and magnificently rich.”

It is also a milestone for Sazerac company, as this is the first time a single company has claimed all three top awards in a single release of Whiskey Bible.

Michter’s Distillery Spotlight

Every now and again comes along a distillery that got it right. Everything. The whiskey, the atmosphere, the marketing, the brand, and the culture. One that sets itself apart by pride in its product’s quality.

Michter’s is one such distillery.

Immediately upon walking in, you can smell the mash tanks fermenting. The open air design and the bright wooden furnishings go nicely against the brick. It’s a nice combination of old and new that show Michter’s appreciation of heritage while they move towards their future.

Originally known as Shenk’s, and founded by John Shenk in 1753, Michter’s has a long and rich history backing them.

Michter’s has spent a lot of time honing their craft. They know how each of their barrels will interact with their whiskey. They use unique charring methods along with multiple exposures to different levels of barrel toasting to create the exact flavor profile they are looking to produce. It’s not guesswork or something they are looking to experiment with. At this point, it’s a well-known and calculated science. One they are more than happy to share with those who visit their beautiful distillery.

They have a very informative display on how the water system in Kentucky works. They believe in only working with the highest quality ingredients. This is why they focus so intensely on making sure each of these factors is highlighted when you visit, so you can see the care they take and the pride they have in each step of the process.

One of the more unique things we discovered, is that Michter’s knowingly short-changes themselves on the amount of whiskey they get per barrel. There is actually a very cool reason for why they do this. They barrel their whiskey at 103 proof. The reason they do this, is that they want the higher ratio of water to whiskey already in the barrel so that the water itself works through the wood and allows chemical processes to take place without the need to water it down afterwords like many companies do. They believe it makes for a more consistent, balanced, and full flavor.

The tasting they provided us was incredible. Each of their products has a uniqueness that has to be experienced. Their understanding of flavor profiles and proof is incredible. We got to experience a wide variety of different bottle picks. Where we have found many of limited release bottles to be overhyped by companies, and marketing gimmicks rampant to increase sales price of limited release bottles, Michter’s products are able to produce something worthwhile and worth the cost.

We thoroughly enjoyed our time at Michter’s learning about the innovative ways they distill their whiskey. We felt the passion and pride behind their bottles. And we saw the history that has shaped their process. If you are ever in Kentucky, we heavily recommend stopping by Michter’s and experiencing their truly beautiful distillery firsthand.

Beer: Whiskey’s Foundation in Early America

When you think of Jamestowne and Plymouth in the early 1600s? A ragtag group of settlers and pioneers in search of a new land? Hardened foragers and pioneers in animal-skins braving the harshness of snow-blanketed plains?

Would you imagine beer?

Beer was the first alcohol to be widely consumed in the new world. English ships would bring copious supplies of beer and spirits to the newly budding Jamestowne, but with such a long time period between arriving ships, and slowly increasing population, the wares were consumed faster than they could be replenished for the group of hard working settlers. So, in true pioneer fashion, they decided to do something about it.

 After Jamestowne had been built enough to turn their attention to the drink shortage in1609, they planted a field of barley and sent a request back to England for a couple of brewers to make their way to the New World. Later that year two brewers took the call and made their way across the sea and brewed the previously mentioned field of barley into delicious, fizzy, golden beer. It was here in Jamestown that the first brewery was established. You can still find what remains of America’s first brewery in Jamestown, now preserved at the Jamestowne Historical Site. 

Now, a few years later, in 1620, the Pilgrims sailed to the new world on the Mayflower. Their destination? Virginia. However, they ran low on ale supplies. With the ale gone and water low, they made a stop short at what we all know now as Plymouth. 

Of course, the Pilgrims had two major priorities after landing. First, build a church. Second, brew some beer. 

As the months wore on, populations grew and the winter months slowed travel. Both shipments of ale and the crops needed to brew them would dwindle dangerously low for the liking of the early American settlers. While they did import things from across the ocean, like brandy and and fortified wines, they were looking to become proficient in creating their own supplies instead of relying on the inconsistently timed supplies from their homeland. 

Captain James Thorpe in Virginia wrote to his friends about how the supply was so scarce, he would brew beer from local corn supplies. He said that the beer was light and sweet, and that he would even sometimes choose it over the English ale when it did arrive in town. And further north, other Pilgrim towns were beginning to experiment by adding different flavors such as molasses, fruit, and berries. 

These experimentations with brewing and distillation would be the key ingredients to unlocking the future of whiskey in early America. 

Michter’s Distillery Highlight Reel

A preview of our trip to Michter’s Distillery! We got to fill a barrel, learn about Michter’s incredibly unique process, share their passion, and catch a buzz! We’ll be bringing you a full write-up soon!

Duke’s Buffalo Trace Soap

Today we’d like to review Duke’s Buffalo Trace collaboration body soap.

I have to admit. I was a little skeptical of this soap actually being more than a money-grab attempt hinged on the Buffalo Trace craze that’s left shelves empty across the country. However, I’m pleased to report that isn’t the case here.

The packaging clearly capitalizes on the collaboration between themselves and Buffalo Trace, really playing into the oh-so-popular “barrel aged” scent selling-point. Though, the scent itself isn’t as woody as I’d have thought with that being the primary scent. I’m pleased to report that it actually has a lot more depth than just your standard 2-D wood-scented soap.

It has a nice vanilla and wheated smell to it, typical of buffalo trace products. If you’ve ever been to a distillery and noted that sweet mash scent dearly associated with quality bourbons, it reminds me of that. There are notes of oak, but they sit behind the sweet mash scent as more of an afterthought than the primary driver.

The soap itself is pretty standard for bar soap outside of the wonderful bourbon smell. Not too many ingredients, no fancy moisturizer or gimmick other than the scent. The soap leaves you feeling completely clean, as this soap absolutely destroys body oil.

Would I recommend? Yes. For the price, if you’re a bourbon lover like we are, starting your day closing your eyes and surrounding yourself with the scent of sweet mash and envisioning your next distillery trip isn’t the worst way to start the day.

If you’d like to purchase the soap through our website, we will earn a small commission that goes towards the running of our site. Thanks everyone!

Which Makers for When

Here at Whiskey Culture, we’re not all about rare whiskeys and bourbons. Sometimes we enjoy the simpler things in life, like a good pour of a well-established brand such as Maker’s Mark. That being said, many of these established brands are now coming out with a higher-end version of their product line as the demand for whiskey increases. Today, we’d like to hone-in on Maker’s and give you a short guide on which Maker’s to pick for which occasion. As always, Whiskey Culture is here to provide you with an honest, impartial guide to a product we’ve long enjoyed.

Maker’s Mark Original

Best for casual sipping over ice or mixing into a cocktail that still allows the whiskey flavor to come through strong. I’m sure most of you have had Maker’s Mark, and know the smooth, woody flavor you get at a budget price.

Maker’s Mark 46

Maker’s 46 is a smooth pour best enjoyed straight or over ice. It has more simple, straight-forward flavors that make for a nice sipping drink if you’re looking for something uncomplicated and easy to pick flavors from. We highly recommend it for new whiskey drinkers as it’s easy to smell and taste the flavors, giving you a good introduction on honing your inner critic.

Maker’s Cask Strength

We find the Maker’s Cask Strength is best enjoyed over ice (unless you’re experienced in cask strength whiskeys). It has the heat you’d expect behind the proof, but some ice and a few minutes to let it melt quickly mellows it. The cask strength is best enjoyed if you’re looking for a whiskey to challenge the palate, as there are many complex flavors that blossom from it. It is a good selection if you are looking for a more intense taste.