After a 23-year hiatus, Michter’s Distillery has just re-released Michter’s Original Sour Mash Whiskey. During the 1970s and 1980s, Michter’s Original Sour Mash was the brand’s best selling whiskey. But despite its popularity, it disappeared from the marketplace in 1989 when the distillery went bankrupt. It was a sad day for the company, which dates back to 1753.
Although Michter’s was rescued in the ’90s, there was no more Original Sour Mash expression to be had. Instead, the distillery focused on a couple of single-barrels ryes and bourbons, plus a really small batch bourbon and their unblended American whiskey.
For the uninitiated, the term “sour mash” is a slight misnomer. Mostly because the spirit doesn’t actually taste sour. From Michter’s —
What its name connotes is the historical sour mash production method of reusing a small amount of the previously fermented mash as the starter for the new mash, similar to what’s done when baking sourdough bread. An aim of the sour mash process, which dates back to the 1800s in Kentucky, is to kick start the fermentation more quickly with the result being a more fully fermented, rounder, smoother whiskey.
The news release goes on to describe the reintroduced product as such: “It begins like a rich, sweet bourbon on the palate, but finishes with the dry spice notes of a rye whiskey.”
Michter’s Original Sour Mash Whiskey carries a suggested retail of $44 for a 750ml bottle.