Spirit Of The Week: Michter’s 10-Year Straight Rye Whiskey

The brand behind the “World’s Most Admired” whiskey releases a new Kentucky Rye.


“Our entire team was absolutely thrilled and deeply humbled. We are also excited for the recognition that this gives to the entire American whiskey category now that a whiskey from our country was named the ‘World’s Most Admired,’” Michter’s Joseph J. Magliocco told Maxim of the most unexpected honor—especially as the first American brand to ever earn that distinction from the respected UK-based publication Drinks International. 

Apparently the news hit the team out of the blue, as they weren’t aware they were finalists to be named the “World’s Most Admired” whiskey until the results were announced—a direct result of a poll taken of independent global whisk(e)y experts, journalists, bartenders and buyers from more than 20 nations.

While an American distillery earning this acknowledgment is eye-opening coming from the nation that claims it created whisky (the Irish might disagree), the fact that Michter’s broke the seal for Drinks International shouldn’t shock as the Kentucky distillery’s global recognition keeps growing and growing, both domestically and abroad. 

“At Michter’s our goal is to produce the greatest American whiskey; quality is paramount to us,” adds the Michter’s President when asked how the Louisville distillery plans to balance the delicate economic dance of supply vs demand.If that means growing slowly, so be it. We have made a conscious decision to grow thoughtfully in a way that ensures the continued excellence of our whiskey.

“While Michter’s recognition among connoisseurs may have increased over the years, our sales remain extremely small in relation to the overall American whiskey market.” 

Now this spring Kentucky label releases its 2024 10-Year Rye, a globally anticipated vintage that is widely considered one of the best ryes released annually. Michter’s mastery of the category cannot be overstated, as they’ve been releasing their US*1 Rye since 2003, and the 10-Year Rye since 2000.

However since Michter’s famously follows a “we’ll only release it when it’s ready” philosophy, no expression is 100-percent guaranteed to be released every year as, frankly, some years their stock isn’t quite ready. 

“When we restarted Michter’s [in 2000], we had a real passion for rye and believed that people who tasted a high quality American rye would like it. With the support of many great bartenders across the globe, well-made American rye was introduced by Michter’s to a new generation of whiskey lovers,” explains Master of Maturation Andrea Wilson, highlighting how renowned spirits authority Robert Simonson credited Michter’s Rye for why so many American rye brands incorporate green on their label. 

While rye boasts a rich American heritage dating back to the 1700s, Wilson points out very few American ryes remained in production after Prohibition. As time passed the category virtually disappeared with the exception of stalwarts like Wild Turkey and Indiana’s MGP—suppliers to a shocking number of American rye labels. 


Now of course it seems nearly every brand is jumping on the rye bandwagon, which makes one wonder if Michter’s feels heartened by the category’s growth, or if they resent it a bit, like, “Where were you all 20 years ago?!”

“We are proud that Michter’s has been producing an outstanding Kentucky style rye for many years,” the Master of Maturation answers politely.

While the US market is much more accustomed to the widely distributed 95-percent rye/5-percent corn recipe from MGP, as well as that of Canadian rye, Michter’s proudly produces what they dub a “Kentucky Rye,” which they see as deeper and more complex thanks to the malted barley. Think baking spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and clove coupled with citrus, honey, and caramel—“without the distraction of excessive pepper notes,” adds Wilson.

“In our opinion, the extra corn and extra malted barley in a Kentucky-style rye provide the whiskey with additional depth and wonderful flavor notes that complement the rye spice.

“Michter’s Rye is beautifully integrated with layers of flavors that dance across the palate, creating a truly delicious whiskey experience…our house style is to create a rich and balanced rye with a nice warmth on the finish.”

And their hard work is clearly being rewarded—not just in international awards like the aforementioned “World’s Most Admired” whiskey, but also on the street level, as bottles of Michter’s pop up more and more at well curated bars and hotels across Europe. Much to our great joy we’ve stumbled across Michter’s in Stockholm, London, Barcelona and Milan in recent years—and as an added bonus, at shockingly affordable prices per pour. 


“I am personally thrilled and honored whenever I see a bottle of Michter’s at a great bar in Europe—or anywhere else around the world,” President Magliocco shares proudly. “I still remember years ago walking along Aker Brygge in Oslo on a beautiful summer day, seeing Michter’s on a restaurant backbar, and pinching myself that we had come this far.”  

The 2024 edition of Michter’s 10 Year Rye comes bottled at 46.4% ABV (92.8 proof), with a SRP of $200.

Follow Deputy Editor Nicolas Stecher on Instagram at @nickstecher and @boozeoftheday.