Birmingham Whisky Club at the Wellington

By Caroline Bletso

Birmingham Whisky Club at the Wellington

Birmingham is blessed with a great deal of fantastic clubs and opportunities, and not least of these is the Birmingham Whisky Club. Started way back in 2011, the Whisky Club has been bringing whisky tastings and whisky themed events to the inhabitants of Birmingham and beyond for six years.

You don’t have to be a member to attend, and last month I came along to The Wellington (their favoured haunt) on a Friday night, to find out more about Michter’s Whiskey.

Michter's Barrel Strength
Michter’s Barrel Strength

This event was pretty much a full house, with several eager tasters of varying experience ready to try some whiskey. The club had laid out the usual 6 whiskies, with water and pipettes and a list of those we were about to try. In this instance:

US*1 American Whiskey ABV 41.7%

US*1 Kentucky Straight Rye ABV 42.4%

US*1 Kentucky Straight Bourbon ABV 45.7%

US*1 Sour Mash ABV 43%

Michter’s 10yo Bourbon ABV 47.2%

Limited Edition Barrel Strength Rye ABV 55.2%

The whisky now called Michter’s can trace back to the founding of America’s first whiskey company in 1753. Then called Shenk’s, it has since been called Bomberger’s before becoming Michter’s after it was bought by Luke Foreman in the 1950s (the unusual name coming from a combination of the names of his two sons: Michael and Peter- we start to wonder what else it could have been called… Petael?)

Essentially today’s incarnation of Michter’s is the story of a wealthy whiskey connoisseur who bought the trademark (as there was nothing else left after its bankruptcy in the ‘80s) for a whiskey in the doldrums, to revive its previously excellent reputation.

Stef introduces us to American whiskeys and Michter's
Stef introduces us to American whiskeys and Michter’s

The new buyers had to start the whiskey from scratch- but of course it takes several years for a whiskey to take form and a trademark needs an annual product. So to start with, they took on a master blender to take on blending and cooperage – trying to re-create the original Michter’s taste. It worked and the Michter’s reputation went straight up. This also meant that at the tasting, the focus on the cooperage and the aging was key.

Excitingly this means that the best is yet to come. The ‘new’ Michter’s is being made with only the absolute best of everything as money is no object.

Whiskey ready to taste
Whiskey ready to taste

Stef, the bringer of the whiskey, gave us this background as we tasted, as well as an interesting tidbit or two on the history of rye whiskey in particular. We drank and we learned all at once.

This isn’t a sponsored post and Caroline was invited to write about this event by Birmingham Whiskey Club.