By Father John Rayls
Bardstown, Kentucky’s Barton Distillery (owned by Sazerac, the same company as Buffalo Trace), Kentucky, recently released 1792 Sweet Wheat Bourbon Whiskey as its newest offering. Although the brand is typically a mid-shelf whiskey, this one might surprise many bourbon lovers.
Barton is the oldest fully operating distillery in the famous, self-proclaimed “Bourbon Capital of the World” (Louisville sometimes disputes the title), having begun operations in 1879. The whiskey brand is named after the year in which Kentucky became a state, and this particular expression was distilled in 2007.
In the glass, 1792 Sweet Wheat is on the lighter side of the brownish orange scale. It has medium to long legs and is interesting to watch.
Bottled at 91.2 proof, its appearances and accompanying labels can be misleading. With the obvious legs on this whiskey, I was expecting a thicker feel in my mouth than what was actually there. In addition at 91.2 proof, I wasn’t expecting the wonderful lingering feel that it left with each sip. There is a very warm and lingering finish that makes you enjoy a slow consumption of your drink. I prefer it neat and would encourage other consumers to at least consider drinking the Sweet Wheat in the same manner.
The aroma is of sweet oak, caramel and some faint tobacco. However, again the smell leads you to believe you might be getting a much sweeter whiskey than you actually are tasting. The smells are a little more subtle than some other bourbons, but it is a pleasant aroma. As I was enjoying these wonderful aromas, I had a powerful urge to grab a cigar. Unfortunately, I didn’t have one available. However, this desire stuck with me until I had completely drained my glass.
The one word that jumps out at me from Barton’s marketing website concerning this Bourbon is the word “delicate.” This is a word that is not typically a real draw for me. I prefer some bolder flavors and yet I really enjoyed this whiskey. To be honest, I was really sad when the small amount I had available was gone. The flavor is delicate, but not in a bad way. Using the wheat instead of rye simply gives it a little softer flavor. The tastes are subtle, but not in a detrimental way. You taste the sweet oak and caramel distinctly, but in a quieter way. It’s there in full flavor, but more as a softer voice rather than a shout. You may also experience a bit of dryness on the tongue.
This is a bourbon worthy of your hard earned cash. I probably wouldn’t use it as a mixer, but would gladly serve it to my friends neat or with a small dropper of water added or even a single ice cube. This would also be a whiskey to include in any tastings you might be hosting. Its flavor profile is just a little bit different.
As an afterthought, I believe a better word than delicate for 1792 Sweet Wheat Bourbon might be well-balanced, and I like well-balanced.
The distillery expects local pricing to be around $32.99.