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Echoes of the Past in Michter's New Sour Mash

Jack Bettridge
Posted: March 29, 2013

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Michter’s Original Sour Mash Whiskey (86 proof, or 43 percent alcohol by volume, $44 for a 750 ml bottle)

APPEARANCE: Honey hue with copper or amber around the edge. Beads up in medium-width slow beads.

NOSE: Very candied aromas, fruity with orange and apricot, but at the same time chewy—caramel, nougat—with some floral notes in attendance.

PALATE: While the official take (Michter’s own) on the sensation is that it starts out as sweet and Bourbon-like and turns to spicy rye notes, we tasted the same things, but in the opposite direction. Begins with a lot of mouth tingle, sort of like menthol lozenge that greets you with a big spicy presence and then becomes candy-like with sparkles of fruit (cherry and orange) and honey. A touch of water reveals even more fruit.

FINISH: Becomes more savory as it starts to tale off with incidental sweet-fruit explosions.

NOTE: Quite a good mixer, both in cocktails and highballs.

CIGAR PAIRING: Gurkha 125th Anniversary Robusto (5 inches by 52 ring, $8.39, 90 points, Feb. 12 Cigar Insider) Nearly perfect in appearance, this robusto produces a solid ash as it burns. It’s starts out strong and aromatic with red and black pepper notes that take on a graham cracker sweetness. A cedary note meets the whiskey and turns savory, while the cigar's wheaty sweetness (read: graham cracker) blossoms. The Michter's becomes more rounded and hearty with the Gurkha.

Villiger Colorado Churchill (7 by 50, $10, 89 points, Feb. 2013 Cigar Aficionado) This dark Churchill smacks of rich wood with notes of dried cherries and a touch of pipe tobacco flavor. The Villiger picks up a little more body from the Michter’s, while the cherry flavors are slightly enhanced. The cigar doesn't give much back to the whiskey, however. A near neutral pairing.

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