Many trains of thought run by way of my consideration of the topic of right this moment’s evaluate. Should you’ll allow me a little bit of free-associative meandering, I’ll deal with them roughly within the order through which they happen to me.
Let’s begin with the distillery: Barton 1792, owned by Sazerac, father or mother firm of Buffalo Hint. I discover it fascinating that – on this period throughout which manufacturers are leaning into direct engagement by way of revamped guests facilities and different “experiences” – Barton 1792 appears to have gone the wrong way altogether. From the distillery’s personal web page:
“After cautious evaluate of our model wants, plant capability, security, and practicality we’ve got made the choice to not supply public excursions on the distillery efficient June 30, 2022. As a substitute, we’ll focus Barton 1792 Distillery on what’s does finest: producing the world’s finest whiskey.”
That is in step with the commercial ethos of the place, at the least. Compared to the Disney-fied James B. Beam distilling firm (simply up the highway in close by Clermont), the Barton 1792 distillery in Bardstown has all of the picturesque attraction of a metal mill. When contemplating the logistical and monetary challenges related to a facelift, it looks as if the Sazerac bean counters determined that Barton 1792 will serve higher as a workhorse to help its personal (and different) manufacturers, somewhat than as a public face for the corporate.
I peppered Buffalo Hint P.R. supervisor Amy Preske with questions on Barton 1792 and this expression, notably; they’re sprinkled all through this evaluate:
Malt: Are there any plans to reopen Barton 1792 to guests?
Amy: No. Whereas we loved opening the distillery for excursions for a couple of decade, the 1792 Customer Heart outgrew its area. We consider the funding to broaden it and sustain with trade traits is best utilized through reinvestment in manufacturing so we are able to make extra award-winning bourbon.
Malt: Will the 1792 and Bartons manufacturers have a “house” at Buffalo Hint?
Amy: No. We intend to stay targeted on our manufacturers that are produced at Buffalo Hint Distillery at Buffalo Hint Distillery, respectively.
So, there you may have it. Like Willy Wonka’s manufacturing unit earlier than the fateful day of reopening, followers of Barton 1792 will be capable to glimpse the origin of their most well-liked whiskey solely by way of the locked gates of the power.
As for my private relationship with the distillery: I’ve beforehand reviewed the Full Proof, Small Batch, and Bottled-in-Bond expressions (each retailer retail and retailer choose). I awarded them scores of 6/10, 6/10, 4/10, and three/10 respectively. I’d describe myself as neither a fan nor a hater of Barton 1792. I don’t search it out, however I’m open to it when a bottle comes into view.
Talking of bottles coming into view: I moved lately, which signifies that the liquor shops in my space are principally terra incognita to me. I used to be due to this fact pleasantly shocked after I walked into a brand new (to me) retailer and noticed a lot of my favourite on a regular basis expressions (Uncommon Breed, OGD 114) alongside extra restricted choices (Maker’s BRT-01), all priced someplace between “enticing” and “truthful.”
Behind the counter, I observed this bottle of 1792 Aged 12 Years. Not solely had I by no means tried this expression, I had by no means even seen a bottle of it in individual, to my information. At $70 (in contrast with a SRP of $50), it was barely marked up, however not egregiously so. I bought it impulsively with out doing any analysis on value; my intestine feeling was that this was in all probability one of the best value I’d fairly look forward to finding a bottle for, as a straight retail buy (e.g. with out having to enter a contest or purchase an accompanying bottle of Wheatley vodka). This was bolstered a number of days later, after I noticed one other bottle on a grocery retailer shelf for the “onerous cross” value of $125.
I’ve written earlier than about the best way that 18 appears to be a variety of cosmic significance for malt whisky. Translating this precept into American whiskey, it looks as if 12 occupies that hallowed spot. We’ve lately featured bottlings with that age assertion from Elijah Craig, Jack Daniel’s, Outdated Forester, Wild Turkey (in each trendy and dusty incarnations) and William Heavenhill, and there are a number of extra that spring to thoughts (bourbons from Van Winkle and Knob Creek, to call however two). In my expertise, it’s an age that ensures maturity however stops wanting risking extreme barrel affect. Thus, it’s not shocking that so many good and nice bourbons are bottled on this candy spot.
One other candy spot that this bourbon approaches (however doesn’t fairly meet) is within the proof division. 100 proof (50% ABV) is legally (through the Bottled in Bond act) and virtually acknowledged as a “goldilocks” bottling energy, neither too punchy nor too light-weight. A listing of expressions at this energy would tire even our most attentive readers, however suffice it to say that you just don’t must go far to discover a 100 proofer. This 1792, nevertheless, involves us on the barely decrease energy of 96.6 proof (48.3% ABV).
The non-round bottling energy caught my eye, so determined to inquire about its origin:
Malt: Is there any explicit motive for the very particular 96.6 proof?
Amy: This was the proof Grasp Distiller Danny Kahn felt finest showcased the breadth and depth of the bourbon.
Malt: Have all of the 1792 Aged Twelve Years releases been at this ABV?
The mash invoice on that is one other level of intrigue; at 74% corn, 18% rye, and eight% barley (estimated; the mash invoice has not been formally disclosed), it is a comparatively excessive rye bourbon. Outdated Forester (18% rye) is at the same degree, whereas 4 Roses’ E (20%) and B (35%) recipes, Outdated Grand-Dad/Basil Hayden’s (27%), and Bulleit (28%) are among the many few that exceed this degree. I’m usually a lower-rye man myself (Heaven Hill’s 10% feels about proper for me), however I’m holding an open thoughts, as I’m additionally an “Outdated Fo” fan.
Let’s recap all that: impartial on the distillery and value, constructive on the age assertion, barely detrimental (however blissful to be confirmed unsuitable) on the mash invoice, ambivalent on the bottling energy. I’m feeling about as even-handed as I could possibly be going into this evaluate. Let’s see how that works out for me.
1792 Aged Twelve Years – Evaluation
Coloration: Medium-dark golden orangey brown.
On the nostril: The primary scent that greets the nostril is a pitch excellent marriage of fruit and wooden. There are tart berries and cherries in right here, but in addition a word of baking spice-inflected vanilla cream, in addition to some extra severe components akin to tarragon, leather-based, musk, and kola nut. Aromatically, this tacks very near fellow Sazerac stablemate Eagle Uncommon, in addition to Russell’s Reserve 10 Yr Outdated from Wild Turkey.
Within the mouth: Altogether extra wooden pushed to start out, the primary kiss of tannic oak transforms step by step into a light-weight and candy fruitiness intertwined with some smooth floral flavors. Texturally, this feels extra akin to single malt whisky than bourbon whiskey originally. The whiskey then begins its ascent up the tongue, with the flavors reaching an apex in the course of the mouth, the place the sweetness is married to a spicy and natural bouquet, with only a faint brushstroke of oaky vanilla. This finishes with extra floral notes, with the freshness of a spring bouquet turning right into a stronger word of floral fragrance. As a minor nit to select, this has a slight bitterness on the end which fades step by step, leaving a nice radiant warmth that sits towards the again of the mouth.
Coloration me shocked by this one. It’s in contrast to every other whiskey I’ve ever had from Barton 1792, in superb methods. There are numerous good and fascinating aromas and flavors in right here, however the place this actually shines is within the integration of these notes right into a cogent entire. Sweetness performs in opposition to bitterness and spice in a sublime dance suggesting that this was bottled at optimum maturity.
In whole, I really feel like that is the equal of the 2 10-year-old whiskeys I discussed earlier than… no imply feat, contemplating they’re my private welterweight champions of fairly priced bourbon. It’s maybe a bit higher on the nostril, and the upper proof does add to the mouthfeel, although the flavour improvement appears much less broad by comparability. That is additionally between $15 and $20 costlier at SRP, so I’m awarding a rating one notch down from the place I rated these two.
This definitely tied up numerous the psychological threads that have been dangling loosely after I commenced this evaluate. Extra fascinating, maybe, is that this given me an improved outlook on a distillery that I used to be beforehand “meh” on. Although I’m resolved to not expend any additional vitality or foreign money to obtain the uncommon 1792 releases, I’ll be more and more inclined to select one up when it turns into obtainable serendipitously at a superb value.