Company: Michter’s Distillery
Distillery: Michter's Shively Distillery
Release Date: 2023
Age: NAS (Aged at least 4 years per TTB regulations)
Mashbill: Undisclosed (Includes malted rye)
Color: Bright Caramel
MSRP: $110 / 750mL (2023)
Caramel | Funky oak | Cotton candy | Bubble gum | Toffee | Slight earthiness | Takes a long time to open up
Dark caramel | Cigar box | Aged leather | Funky oak | Earthy undertone | Weird in a good way | Smooth, creamy mouthfeel
Even tempered with a slight hint of spice | Caramel popcorn | Honey | Candy corn | Tiramisu | Earthy undertone dissipates | Lingering sweetness
A whiskey with a smooth, creamy mouthfeel that nails its funky weirdness and its long, sweet finish.
The Shenk’s Homestead brand is part of Michter’s Legacy Series, which also includes Bomberger’s Declaration and is intended to honor the brand’s history. The name originates from the company’s founder John Shenk, and according to the company, “in 1753, Swiss Mennonite farmer John Shenk founded Shenk’s distillery, which was later renamed Bomberger’s Distillery in the 1800s before having its name changed once again to Michter’s Distillery in the mid-20th Century.” It has been released annually since 2018.
Little is known about this whiskey, as it is just labeled “sour mash whiskey” which means the mashbill could be any mix of grains, or it could be a blend of many different mashbills. This lack of clarification is frustrating, but if you look past it, you find a really captivating whiskey. What’s most engaging about it is its smooth, creamy mouthfeel that also has a funky oak undertone. As much as I hate to say it, this feature is reminiscent of Pappy Van Winkle releases, though don’t take this to mean it tastes the same.
The whiskey has a weird but intriguing flavor profile. Caramel lays a base on the nose and then weaves its way throughout the sip. Funky oak, toffee, and odd but welcome scents of cotton candy and bubble gum join them, punctuated by a hint of earthiness. Richer, darker caramel comes out on the palate, along with cigar box, aged leather, persistent funky oak, and that earthy undertone again. A slight bit of spice develops at the onset of the finish, which transitions quickly to sweeter flavors of honey, caramel popcorn, and tiramisu which then lingers intently.
This is a fun whiskey that doesn’t pull any punches. It’s weird, but in a fun “let’s get weird!” way that doesn’t cross any boundaries but still manages to pull you out of your comfort zone. It shares a creamy, oaky characteristic with the highly revered Pappy Van Winkle line, and though it isn’t the same, it provides a strangely similar experience in that regard. At $110 it’s not cheap, but it is one that’s worthy of occasions that call for a unique, oak-forward pour.
The bottle in review comes from batch 23E1506.