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Michter’s American Whiskey

tall bottle with black and white label with light brown liquid

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Since the laws about bourbon classification are so strict, many distilleries create different expressions to experiment with flavors and sell new products. One of the oldest distilleries in America did this when creating their recent product, Michter’s American Whiskey.

Michter’s legacy begins in Pennsylvania in 1753, when a mennonite farmer named John Shenk first began distilling rye whiskey. It was sold under the name Shenk’s until the the distillery was sold to Abraham Bomberger and the name changed to Bomberger’s.

Over the next century, the distillery would survive prohibition and many owner changes until then-owner, Lou Forman,  came up with the name “Michter’s.” He made the name by combining his two son’s names, Michael and Peter. Business continued to decline until 1989 when the then-owners declared bankruptcy and abandoned the Pennsylvania distillery.

After a few years of uncertainty, the Michter’s name was revived by two passionate whiskey lovers and businessmen, Joseph J. Magliocco and Richard Newman. The distillery then moved to Kentucky and has continued to produce whiskey ever since.

Michter’s American Whiskey was added to Michter’s streamlined product list in 2013. Despite it’s similarities to bourbon, they can’t legally use that term because the spirit is aged in used white oak barrels instead of legally mandated new oak barrels. It’s also produced in small batches and labeled as “unblended” so no neutral grain spirits are mixed into the final product.

Bottle Specs

❖ Spirit: Unblended American Whiskey

Distillery: Michter’s Distillery

❖ ABV: 41.7% (83.4 Proof)

❖ Moderate Price

Tasting Notes

My Tasting Notes 

Color: Honey

❖ Nose: Vanilla, Cherry, Caramel

Taste: Spice, Butterscotch, Vanilla, Oak

Finish: Long, Warm, Pleasant balance of spice and sweet notes

Honey colored liquid in a glencairn class


slightly orange and light brown liquid in a large rocks glass with 2 large chunks of ice with a cherry, lemon peel and orange peel skewers by a copper cocktail pick


1 Sugar Cube

4 Dashes Bitters

splash of Club Soda

2 oz Whiskey

❖ Add bitters, sugar cube and splash of club soda to a rocks glass and muddle together. Add the whiskey

❖ Add a large rock of ice to the glass and stir to chill, roughly 40 seconds

❖ Garnish with lemon peel, orange peel and Luxardo Maraschino cherry

The Old Fashioned is one of the most famous whiskey cocktails, and surprisingly pretty easy to make. It’s essentially just sugar, bitters and whiskey so there are tons of variations, but this recipe from the Educated Barfly Youtube channel is my personal favorite. I used Angostura bitters for this particular cocktail, but any bitters will work and are an easy way to play around with the flavor profile. Bitters also make great gifts since there are so many options.

Michter’s American Whiskey worked wonderfully in this cocktail. As the video mentions, the cocktail starts off with strong whiskey and bitter flavors, but slowly adds sweetness as the ice melts and sugar dissolves. The lemon and orange (twisted) also blended well with the oak and sweet notes of the whiskey. 

Although this is my preferred classic Old Fashioned recipe, it’s easy to make adjustments. If I’m too lazy to muddle a sugar cube, I’ll just use a bar-spoon of simple syrup. Sometimes I’ll also change the garnish depending on the fruits I have on hand.

A large rock is preferable because it looks cool and dilutes slower but you can also just use whatever ice you have. I messed up my last few batches of clear ice so I had to settle for 2 medium chunks of ice. I think it still looks cool, though.

Bottom Line


Of all the American whiskies I’ve tried so far, Michter’s American Whiskey is the one I most enjoy drinking neat. While other whiskies might have had more complexity or a cheaper price, Michter’s manages to create a really pleasant experience out of it’s flavors. I especially enjoy the nose and the blend of sweet and spice flavors. The lack of depth of flavor is the only thing holding it back.

I also believe Michter’s American is in a great price range, about $43, since it’s higher quality than typical cocktail mixers but not as complex as other sipping whiskies. But, I still really enjoy it neat and in an Old Fashioned, so it can fulfill both roles adequately. 

As always, drink responsibly.

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