Michters 20: One of the Best Bourbons Of All Time, That I Don’t Ever Want to Try Again

It’s better than me

One of the cliche story tropes is that it is better to want than to have. It’s more predictable than hearing your basic friend say “we needed this” after it rains.

I spent years too comfortably poor to try Michters 20. It wasn’t even a decision. I would see the $1,300.00 bottle in 2012 at Vendome and laugh at such outrageous whimsy. Later, the bottles outpaced my own life and became twice that at retail and exponentially more on resale.

M20 became a Radioactive Man #1 of sorts. It would never live up to expectations, but taters gonna covet. In 2019 saw a 2oz pour in a bar listed for $350.00 and laughed. I quipped that if I ever sold a book, or a show, or became a cast member on Below Deck I could justify that.

In 2020 the world shut down and I ran 1000 miles. Daily, I would run by the shuttered Chestnut Club and think about the idea of success needed to “justify” an inherently disappointing pour.

Two years went by, I had a son, life carved valleys into us all like slow glaciers in the upper Montana of our existence. Collectibles boomed. Cars, trading cards, everything capitalized on the captivity. 2015 M20 went from being a $4000 bottle to a $11500 bottle. Desire doesn’t scale with time or reason.

Time destroys all 20 year olds

When the bar finally reopened I saw that same m20. Laughingly I asked “what’s that go for now? $950 a pour?” The POS hadn’t been updated. The $350 pour was a “deal” in modern parlance. Entropy takes us all, so I shared the pour with a friend, having accomplished nothing. The purchase in itself, wasteful and defiant as two years lost.

It wasn’t worth it. This is one of the best bourbons I have had in my life but, nothing can live up to that price souring my mash. It is so delicate and round on the nose, hazelnut, nutmeg, shortbread cookies. Taste is relatively thin but concedes pralines, macadamia nut, tagalongs. Swallow goes buttered English muffin, bonded leather, and split kindling.

The cost refines its accomplishments in an uncomfortable way. Imagine playing a free to play game but buying every lootbox until youre the best. It is god tier, but in getting there it subverts everything I want to embrace about bourbon itself. Time claims us all, even the 20 year olds


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