This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by Michter’s. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link towards the bottom of this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.
It was dark, rainy and the coffee shop had closed hours earlier. This, though, was a special occasion. So on a recent Saturday night, owner Kevin Bates let us inside the building and locked us in to discuss, debate and drink whiskey.
Kevin owns a pair of coffee shops in suburban Portland, Ore., and keeps a lovingly curated wall of whiskies behind the counter alongside signs advertising bungalow blend and scones. Before I ever met Kevin, I recognized that someone at the shop was a whiskey aficionado. Not only is it uncommon to have a whiskey wall at a coffee shop, but I regularly discovered labels there that I had on my personal wish list.
In this case, I asked Kevin to join me in opening a bottle that’s on his personal wish list: Michter’s 25-year-old bourbon.
Nose: Graham crackers; vanilla beans; a hint of fresh ginger. It’s warm, but – given its alcohol content – not particularly boozy.
Palate: The legs we saw when swirling it in the glass were not misleading – this is a bourbon that’s both sumptuous and silky. It’s almost like taking a bite of something rather than drinking it. Layer by layer, different flavors materialize. The wood essence comes first, which isn’t surprising for a 25-year-old bourbon: Lightly buttered toast, pecan pie bars and vanilla cake with a brown-sugar glaze. Later, almond brittle makes an appearance, along with an undercurrent of spiced apples and cinnamon. It’s a rich combination of flavors, but it comes across as balanced rather than cloying.
The finish is remarkably long. It starts spicy, holds on for an extended period of time and ends, finally, with a dollop of honey. Each time as it faded, I found myself tipping the Glencairn and hoping to find any last, additional drops.