By Randall H. Borkus
Sazarac Company’s Barton 1792 Distillery has introduced its first “ultra-premium” Straight Bourbon Whiskey expression, reviving the Thomas S. Moore brand. These whiskeys have been finished in a variety of select casks from around the globe. The first three expressions are available on a limited release basis December 2020 and all feature wine casks, including chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon and Port. (The chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon casks come from California).
In 1889, Thomas S. Moore built the distillery known today as Barton 1792 Distillery. Moore was an early pioneer in Bardstown, which has since become known as the Bourbon Capital of the World. Leading up to Prohibition, Moore established a constantly evolving whiskey empire, growing his humble operation into a powerhouse distillery, but then forced to cease production in 1920. Today this namesake line of bourbons intends to honor Thomas S. Moore achievements.
Barton 1792 Distillery defines this new category as “extended cask finished” bourbon whiskeys. Master Distiller Danny Kahn at Barton 1792 Distillery explained in an online tasting that they use their signature high-rye mash bill aged in new charred oak barrels for 5 to 7 years. Then the whiskey is transferred into secondary casks for an “extended” finishing period that ranges for 2 to 5 additional years. Keeping in mind that the usual finishing period is measured in a few or several months, up to five years is indeed extended. These secondary casks previously matured wines or spirits from around the world. This extended cask-finishing process results in elegant whiskey expressions, reflecting traditional flavors from the bourbon and significant hints from the secondary cask finishes.
The bottles are tall and sophisticated looking featuring imagery that pays homage to the legacy of Thomas S. Moore. The labels display the image of a racehorse standing tall, honoring one of Moore’s earliest whiskey brands, Belle of Nelson, named after the thoroughbred who won the Kentucky Oaks in 1877 and 2nd place in the Nashville Cup in 1878.
Here I am sampling the Thomas S. Moore Bourbon Finished in Chardonnay Casks. The nose is aromatic and slightly sweet, with hints of grapes and toasted oak. With little imagination the oak barrel notes remind of a California wine. The front palate continues the theme of aromatics and sweet fruits. The mid-palate further develops with more hints of fruits and a toasted oak spice holds firm on my tongue. The finish roles into a lush buttery oak laced with hints of vanilla, butterscotch, fresh leather and spice. This is a delightful new flavor expression that drinks smoothly and elegantly at 97.9 proof.
The inaugural trio of whiskeys releases will be limited in availability, as they are essentially one-off batches. However, the brand promises additional cask-finished releases to be unveiled every year in the fall.
Suggested retail pricing for the Thomas S. Moore expressions are $69.99 and may vary depending upon your market.