Distillery: Barton 1792. ABV: 62.5%. No age statement (estimated 8.5 years). Mashbill: 75% corn, 15% rye, 10% malted barley. Price: $45-50.
It’s been about four years since I made my first trip down to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and visited a half dozen distilleries over a few days. What caught me off guard during the trip was the way some of the visitor centers were overly polished–clearly the creations of people with advanced marketing degrees rather than a love for drinking bourbon. Those places strained to force an “authentic experience” on you, rather than letting the long history of the brands and physical distilleries tell their own story. I wanted Kentucky, not Disneyland.
However, after driving a quiet residential road past trees with darkened bark (from fungus that grows near distilleries and feeds on ethanol in the air), I reached what appeared to be the nondescript back entry of a small industrial plant. I negotiated the passage around a couple of heavy grain trucks to a small strip of parking spots. Across the street were loading docks and pipes billowing steam, and inside was a quaint tasting room. I knew my experience at the Barton 1792 Distillery was going to be different. This was raw. This was authentic. This was where bourbon was made.
The 1792 Full Proof is the fourth and most recent limited-release bourbon by the brand. The character of the juice matches the distillery–raw and authentic. Bottled at barrel entry proof of 62.5% ABV, there is a lot of heat on the nose and palate, which bathes the traditional bourbon flavors of deep vanilla and old oak with lovely spice. Dampened earthiness and subtle smoke fight for attention over the sweet vanilla notes, and they reveal themselves more with a few drops of water. The finish is long and pure Kentucky.
This is my favorite of 1792’s limited releases, and an amazing value for its high proof and lower price point.
Feature photo from instagram.com/1792bourbon