ORIGIN: LOUISVILLE, KY.
ABV. 45.7 %
America’s revolutionary bourbon
The cigar world is replete with brands that boast long histories spanning as far back as the pre-Sandinista era in Nicaragua, the pre-Castro days in Cuba, or even the earliest years of Cuba’s cigar industry. It’s easy to forget that while we don’t have too many big cigar brands on the market with similar stories set in the United States, there are homegrown brand names with incredible stories in other sectors.
Take Michter’s, for instance. Or, more precisely, the whiskey company that eventually became known as Michter’s. In 1753, a Swiss Mennonite farmer in Pennsylvania named John Shenk created a company —naming it, with calling-card Mennonite simplicity, Shenk’s —and started making whiskey from rye grain at a distillery in Pennsylvania’s Blue Mountain Valley, where rye was a staple crop.
As the story goes, the whiskey was so sought after and highly valued by the time the Revolutionary War began that George Washingtonhimself made a trip to the distillery and stocked up on the spirit to keep his men going through the winter at Valley Forge. Two centuries later, Michter’s is able to boast that it’s “the whiskey that warmed the American Revolution.” Sure, there must havebeen other distilleries helping keep the revolution lubricated, but it’s probably also true that a visit from Washington gives you more right than others to fly that flag.
Pennsylvania Dutchman Abraham Bomberger bought the distillery in the mid-1800s, after which point it was known as Bomberger’s for decades.
The passage of the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1919 brought the beginning of the Prohibition era and forced practically everyone who was making hooch to slam the brakes on production. The distillery bounced back when the 21st Amendment opened the door to legal booze again, but the next several decades were characterized by instability for the company, with the reins changing hands from one owner to the next and the company finances staying on shaky ground. It was during that time that Lou Forman, one of the owners of the distillery, named the brand after his two sons, Michael and Peter. Michter’s. See what he did there?
Michter’s remained on a rocky road through to the late ‘80s, when a downturn in the whiskey market at large led ownership to declare bankruptcy and abandon the company completely.
It wasn’t until the 1990s that Joseph J. Magliocco (a Harvard Law grad who had poured Michter’s as a bartender in college) and Richard “Dick” Newman (a retired Marine who’d gone on to build a career in whiskey that included a stint as President and CEO of Austin Nichols, which distills Wild Turkey) went into business together and brought Michter’s back on the scene. One of the first key steps in reviving the brand —aside from the boring legal stuff —was to move things to Kentucky and tackle the job from the heart of the bourbon world. The company is still run from Louisville and the duo ultimately succeeded in not only bringing the Michter’s name back from the great bourbon beyond, but in earning it a place among the most recognizable spirits in the category.
This 91 proof bourbon presents a light amber color in the glass with a nose of corn, caramel, and vanilla with a bit of camphor. The mouthfeel is somewhat thin with flavors of oak, corn, cinnamon, dried fruits, and a dose of pepper.
Cigar Pairing – The Particulares Cremas by Sindicato
The Particulares Cremas from Sindicato brings tons of cedar and cream and seems to balance out the heavy notes of corn and oak in the whiskey. As time passes, the whiskey’s vanilla, pepper, and dried fruit becomes more and more prominent and starts to become present in the Particulares’ smoke.