Established in 1879, the Barton 1792 Distillery is the oldest fully-operating Distillery in Bardstown Kentucky and now boasts 28 barrel ageing warehouses. Amongst a vast portfolio of spirits Barton makes bourbons such as 1792 bourbon, Very Old Barton bourbon, and Kentucky Tavern. The distillery itself was renamed to the Barton 1792 Distillery in 2009 after the operation was bought over by the Sazerac Co. who decided to capitalize on the names of the distillery’s two most popular products, 1792 bourbon, and Barton bourbon. The significance of the 1792 date in the name is that this was the year Kentucky became a state.
1792’s Small Batch is a premium high rye bourbon and the flagship whiskey of the 1792 range. Originally bottled as an 8 year old bourbon and bearing the names 1792 Ridgemont Reserve and Ridgewood reserve, swift legal action from Brown-Foreman in 2004 claiming consumer confusion with Woodford Reserve eventually resulted in the current name and an updated bottle design. In 2013 the age statement was permanently phased out but the range was expanded from only the Small Batch offering to include 1792 Sweet Wheat, Port Finish, Full Proof, Single Barrel, High Rye, Bottled in Bond, and a limited 225th Anniversary release.
Today I’ll be reviewing the Small Batch offering which is regularly available at a decent price. It comes in a decanter bottle with a gold stopper and golden screen printed label on the front of the bottle that looks flashy on any bar.
Name: 1792 Small Batch Bourbon
Proof: 93.7 proof (46.85% ABV)
Type: Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Mashbill: Not Disclosed but this bourbon is marketed as a high-rye bourbon so estimates place the amount of rye at around 15-20% with the remainder consisting of malt and corn (at least 51% corn)
Producer: Barton 1792 Distillery
Nose: The nose opens with slight orange peel, dark cherries, deep caramel, white pepper and faint charred oak.
Palate: The palate has a nice viscosity with candied orange, deep sweet caramel, slight vanilla, dark fruit, slight roasted nuts, a wave of peppery rye spice and dry charred oak.
Finish: The finish is long with an opening wave of earthy spicy rye, followed by sweet burned caramel, and ending with dry oak tannins carrying into the aftertaste with a touch of barrel char.
This is a really smooth bourbon that’s packed full of classic bourbon flavours and has a great mouthfeel. It is really well balanced between the flavours, the spice, and the mouthfeel. The high rye content adds a decent kick of spice that makes this drink like a higher proof bourbon. As a flagship bourbon this brings a lot to the table for drinkers and sets the bar quite high for subsequent expressions. When Barton released this as a competitor for Knob Creek and Woodford Reserve it’s clear they released a bourbon that could easily take both the lower proof Woodford Reserve and the higher proof Knob Creek. Compared to both this bourbon has a more complex flavour profile and better balance in my opinion. Knob Creek, even with its few extra % abv, struggles to compete on flavour and Woodford Reserve, with younger whiskies in the blend, tastes much younger when put beside this bourbon. Overall I’m impressed with this as it easily beats it’s competitors at the same price level and offers drinkers a complex and flavourful bourbon at a great price.
With reference to Barton’s recent warehouse collapse I’m not naive enough to think this disaster will put them out of business. However, as the source of this brand and many other beloved bourbons, I have, and encourage, anyone who wants to show their support to go out and pick up a bottle of their bourbon.
Try or Buy?
Great price, easily outperforms its main two competitors, eye-catching bottle, and every purchase helps support their distillery after their warehouse collapse – what’s not to love? Buy buy buy!
For Irish fans, every purchase of 1792 or another Sazerac product from the Celtic Whiskey Shop gets you entry into their monthly Buffalo Trace Antique Collection and Pappy Van Winkle lottery!