Ramon Allones ‘Old’ – Michter’s Single Barrel Straight Rye Whiskey
Rob posted a thread recently about one of his mates who likes to smoke half-finished cigars the next day or even later (and no, it is not me and I have no idea who it is). Last night, I felt a bit like a small cigar (very rare) and as I am on a bit of a bourbon kick, I was cracking the Michter’s Single Barrel Straight Rye Whiskey, I thought something caramelly. What better than an aged PLPC?
But then I remembered that away in the back of the humidor (in several bags for protection – not so much of it but of the rest of the humidor), was a cigar I had started but not finished. 999 times out of 1,000, it would have been disposed of at the time, but this was one of the boxes of Ramon Allones which Stuart Fox very kindly brought with him last year, I think (please don’t tell me it was the year before).
From memory, from the 60s or 70s and I can’t even tell you which stick. I’d guess Corona, but certainly something around that size (this is why I always take notes – well, always except for this time). I remember that they were so fantastic that when I had fired up one and smoked less than an inch, and we had to move on somewhere (lord knows what was so important), that I put it aside for later. But I did not get to it. Put it to one side but did not get the chance.
So, it has been bagged and in the humidor for the best part of a year (or more?). And I thought I’d put it to the test after Rob’s thread. I should add that this is not something I plan on repeating any time soon. And I had the PLPC standing by if this turned out to be a dud.
There were some serious concerns to kick off. Not surprisingly, very ashy. This was literally (or perhaps figuratively might be more accurate) licking ashtray stuff. But that vanished very quickly – thankfully. And wow. So much better than I could have ever hoped. Based on this one, admittedly hardly typical, experiment, I really would not be bothered by lighting up again a day or more later (as I said, I have no intention of repeating this, though). Just get past that nasty ashy bit and away we go.
What was a lovely piece of synchronicity was that the predominant flavour early was caramel – just making for a perfect match with the bourbon. But that soon morphed into nuts. Absolutely buckets of roasted nuts. Not sure it is worth scoring as it is not as though one can buy decades old, partially smoked cigars, but it would have been very high (this might seem odd, but from memory, it was even better than when Stuart opened the box – it was that good). Loved it.
The Rye was also an absolute cracker. And the two worked so well together. I’m doing some work on various bourbons and whiskies, which has been enlightening. And fun. Looking at a couple of Michter’s.
Michter’s is an interesting story – new and old. Originally kicked off in Pennsylvania, 1753, as Shenk’s, it went through a number of hands, and finally closed for Prohibition. It opened again after the repeal and continued to play musical chairs with a succession of owners. In the 50s, owner Lou Forman changed the name to Michter’s, a combination of the names of his sons, “Mich”ael and Pe”ter”. In 1989, or 1990, depending on which source you believe, it went belly-up.
A few years later, Joseph Magliocco and Richard Newman revived it in Kentucky, subsequently opening a second distillery in that State. They retained the old Pennsylvania pot stills and equipment. The aim is to make Small Batch or Single Barrel products. Small Batch has no legal specifications in the States and can be “stretched” – so you can have releases of umpteen thousand cases claiming to be small batch. Michter’s have restricted themselves to a maximum of twenty barrels for any of their Small Batch products.
Originally, they sourced bourbons for bottling but now distil their own. It is one of the very few distilleries with a female, Pamela Heilmann, master distiller. The couple of Michter’s I have seen have been their “bottom end” stuff, if one can forgive the prejudicial terminology, but if it is this good, can’t wait to try some pointy end stuff. This Rye offered cinnamon, teak, orange rind, spices, citrus and some caramel. Really liked it. supple texture. Seriously good. Bring on more.