With the St. Patrick’s day weekend behind it is time to move from green beer and Jameson back towards bourbon. This time around we’re looking at Barton Brands’ Ridgemont Reserve 1792. 1792 is a small batch bourbon made at the 1792 Barton (Tom Moore) Distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky. There is no age statement on the bottle but according to its website it states that the bourbon is aged for no less than 8 years. 1792 was released in 2003 and named for the year Kentucky became a state. Originally branded as Ridgewood Reserve, but after a lawsuit for copyright infringement from Brown-Forman (Woodford Reserve), it was changed to Ridgemont. In 2009 the New Orleans based Sazerac company purchased the Barton Brands(Very Old Barton, 1792, Tom Moore Bonded, Kentucky Gentlemen, Fleischmann’s Rye, Ten High) and has pushed 1792 into the premium bourbon market. So is this a premium bourbon?
Appearance: Deep amber with slow-moving legs
Nose: The nose on this really impressed me. Right away you pick up the rye, a sign of the rye heavy mash bill, followed by dry oak and sawdust. A nice leather note is also present. After some time opening up the sweeter notes begin to appear; vanilla, honey, caramel and banana. Just a well balanced complex nose, well done Ken Pierce.
Palate: Right from the get go the heat on this is apparent. This really packs a punch for a sub 100 proof whiskey. Right away the rye and oak flavors are established and were the oak fades the rye never lets go. There is a sweet entry (vanilla, maple, caramel) but is only faint, which is unfortunate. The finish is warm and medium in length leaving behind those spicy rye notes and slight mint.
Overall: The one word that comes to mind when I think of this bourbon is potential. The nose is unbelievable, complex sweet and spiciness enveloped in beautiful oak and leather. The palate unfortunately is over shadowed by the nose. I would like to see more cohesion from the spicy rye and faint sweet notes. The rye completely over takes even overpowering the oak which throws the balance off a bit. This is a very good bourbon but has the potential to be outstanding.
Rating: 86 / * * * *