Perfect Pairings: Michter’s Bourbon And The Eye of the Shark
If you got outbid at last year’s charity auction in London, where a full cask of Michter’s 10-year-old Single Barrel Bourbon set a record at $209,000, don’t fret. The limited-edition whiskey is again available in its annual release. While it still isn’t cheap, it may seem affordable by comparison at $150 a bottle.
Once you taste it, you might not be as charitable with your pals who show up with a thirst. It’s the kind of whiskey you pour out in dribs and drabs and horde for when you have a special cigar to enjoy it with.
Michter’s issues the whiskey once each year. As it’s a single-barrel Bourbon, slight differences occur not only from year to year, but from cask to cask. (The bottles are numbered by barrel.) However, the tasting staff does its best to replicate the 10-Year-Old’s signature taste, which a complex melding of fruit and caramel candies.
Michter’s, which is named for a storied and shuttered distillery in Pennsylvania, now operates as part of Chatham Imports in Kentucky. The company reinvented the brand as negotiant of spirits, buying special casks from established distilleries and chill-filtering the contents for packaging under the brand name Michter’s. Many of their labels are of this age and older.
The company has since opened a distillery in Louisville, Kentucky. It has been one of the spearheads of the revitalization of the Bourbon industry in the state’s largest city. Distillers many years ago occupied a prominent place in the city, but departed for the countryside. The Bourbon of the last few decades has begun to reverse that trend.
Michter’s makes a variety of whiskeys, including Bourbon and rye. Given its age, this 10-year-old will still be the product of procured whiskeys, as spirit from the new distillery will not be available for a while. In the meantime, here’s a cigar pairing that may get you through the wait.
Michter's Single Barrel Bourbon 10 Years Old (94.4 proof, $150, Barrel no. 21D1204)
Appearance: Amber/copper color with excruciatingly slow legs.
Nose: Fruity-cherry, orange triple sec, with caramel.
Palate: Tangy cherry, maple candy, currants, bit of licorice.
Finish: Picks up spice on the finish. Fruit lulls and then returns in waves.
Arturo Fuente Don Carlos Eye of the Shark (5 1/4 inches by 50 ring, $14.35, 97 points, Cigar of the Year for 2017)
This partially pressed belicoso draws and burns with textbook precision, enveloping the palate with opulent layers of walnut, almond, chocolate and baking spice notes brought together by a citrus undertone. A delicious smoke.
The Pairing: This is a textbook example of two elements that create a pairing greater than its sum. The cigar finds chocolate and nuts on the whiskey, while accentuating its caramel. The Michter’s in the meantime makes leather pop on the Fuente and reveals its sweet side with the Bourbon’s own contribution of fruit.