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BEST of the BEST 2014 | Leisure | Spirits: Michter’s Celebration Sour Mash Whiskey

  • Richard Carleton Hacker

Technically, Michter’s Cele­bration Sour Mash Whiskey (www.michters.com, $4,000) is neither bourbon nor rye whiskey. Instead, this unique offering is a combination of both of these brown spirits—the inspired creation of Michter’s master distiller, Willie Pratt, who selected the best of the historic distillery’s bourbon and rye barrels to concoct the delicious hybrid. Pratt settled upon a combination of 30-​year-old, 20-year-old, and younger whiskies for this 112.3-proof vatting, which is, in the words of the distillery’s president, Joseph Magliocco, “a very special whiskey worthy of breaking out at a very special time”—hence the festive moniker. Certainly this sour-mash whiskey fulfills the promise of its name, exuding scents of sweet, smoky fruit, candied cherries, and honeyed vanilla. Only 273 gold-etched bottles exist, each housed in a presentation case that contains a wax-sealed, hand-signed letter from Pratt. The fortunate recipients of these decanters certainly will have cause to celebrate.