The third in a series of limited-edition Bourbons from Barton 1792 Distillery is now hitting stores. The newest release is a single-barrel whiskey and joins the brand's Sweet Wheat and Port Finish Bourbons, which debuted in 2015. The company reports that more variations are scheduled to bow in later this year.
The 1792 Single Barrel Bourbon arises from the Barton 1792 Distillery, located in Bardstown, Kentucky, and formerly called Tom Moore Distillery. The facility has a long history at the site that stretches to 1879. (The brand is named for the year that Kentucky entered statehood.) The distillery makes a number of other whiskeys, including Very Old Barton, Kentucky Gentleman and Ten High. The 1792 line was first started in 2002 with the distillery's flagship 1792 Small Batch. Originally called 1792 Ridgemont Reserve, it simplified its name in 2004 after a trademark dispute involving Brown-Forman's Woodford Reserve.
The distillery has changed hands many times in its life. Recent owners have included Barton Brands, Canandaigua Wine Co. and Constellation Brands. It was bought by Sazerac, which also owns the Buffalo Distillery, in 2011.
It was Sazerac that returned guest tours to the facility in 2012. At that time, it was the only large Kentucky distillery that didn't support visits. That situation was somewhat ironic since former Barton Brands owner Oscar Getz created a small Bourbon museum there in 1957 and provided the only Bourbon distillery tours of that period. After his death, in 1983, the contents of the museum were moved to create the Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History, in the center of Bardstown, and tours of the distillery were curtailed.
The Barton 1792 Distillery now holds the distinction of being the oldest fully operational distillery in Bardstown, the self-styled Bourbon Capital of the World. Many other distilleries are located nearby, but outside Bardtown's boundaries. Heaven Hill, which is located in the town, only ages whiskey there. It was forced to find other distilling arrangements after a 1996 fire.
Barton 1792 Single Barrel (98.6 proof, or 49.3 percent alcohol by volume; no age statement; $39.99 a 750-milliliter bottle)
APPEARANCE: Honey colored with chubby legs.
NOSE: Starts kind of floral and honeyed and quickly shows rich barrel notes of maple candy and caramel. Somewhere in the back of the bouquet is an oily, herbal quality.
PALATE: Directly shows a huge, candied mouth. The maple sugar on the nose is there, joined by caramel, toffee, butter rum, hints of chocolate, cherry and orange. Sometimes the sweetness is so intense, it's like rock candy.
FINISH: Takes a long encore that is not as intensely sweet as the palate experience. As it slowly fades, it becomes subtler and you appreciate more nuanced and hearty notes in the whiskey.
CIGAR PAIRING: Montecristo Media Corona (Cuba; 3 1/2 inches by 44 ring gauge; £10.06; 90 points; Cigar Aficionado February 2016) A short, well-rolled cigar crafted with a three-seam cap. The earthy, wheaty smoke also leaves impressions of coffee and a hint of graham cracker. Starting with such a sweet and full-bodied whiskey, we looked for a partner that would match its weight, but counterbalance its flavors. That is to say, we ruled out similarly sweet cigars. With the Monte, we were rewarded with outstanding reciprocity of taste. The Bourbon filled in the cigar with sugary charms, boosting its graham cracker notions and conferring upon it some sense of white chocolate. The Monte sought out the caramel and toffee barrel flavors of the 1792 and discouraged any saccharine whims, even as it encouraged the whiskey's fruit and developed vanilla notes. The bonus came in a synthesis of the elements: leather. Wow! Near-perfect pairing.