By Randall H. Borkus
Sazarac’s Barton 1792 Distillery has introduced its first expression marketed as “ultra-premium,” named Thomas S. Moore Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. These whiskeys have been finished in a variety of select casks from around the globe, with the first three expressions available on a limited release basis from December 2020 and all featuring wine casks, including chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon and Port.
In 1889, Thomas S. Moore built the Distillery known today as Barton 1792 Distillery. Moore was an early pioneer in Bardstown, known today 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. Moore’s Business boomed until the Barton distillery was 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 derived bourbon, 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 (a normal finish would be measured in terms of several months). 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 Port finished expression in the Moore line is the highest proof of the three, at 96.9 proof.
The Port Cask is the deepest color of the trio, with a purplish hue in my glass with sticky legs hugging the inner glass. The nose is full of medium-tannin oak with fruit notes of raisins, musky raspberry and blackberry, and a buttery, nutty caramel swirl. The front palate exhibits sweet boysenberry, blueberry, and dried raisins. A sweet homemade vanilla-cherry dominates the middle palate with hints of nutmeg, and oak spice. This finish is full of plum and berry preserves with a dry oak-spice ending. The Port Casks finished is a very good bourbon whiskey of which I will pursue to land a bottle on my shelf.
The inaugural trio of whiskeys releases will be limited in availability, as they are essentially one-off batches. However, the brand promises additional creative cask-finished releases to be unveiled every year in the fall. Suggested retail price is $69.99 and may vary depending upon your market.