Today, disaster struck in Bardstown, Kentucky. Half of warehouse 30 at Barton 1792 Distillery collapsed, with 9000 barrels of bourbon involved in the collapse with another 11,000 at risk in the still standing part of the warehouse.
For a bit of history, Barton Distillery is the oldest distillery in Bardstown, which is arguably the bourbon capital of the world. Much like Sazerac did with the Stagg distillery, now Buffalo Trace, Sazerac bought this distillery and breathed new life into it by introducing their low rye bourbon mashbill and creating a new flagship brand. In the case of Barton, that bourbon is 1792. Originally called 1792 Ridgemont Reserve, they dropped the Ridgemomt Reserve part after Brown Foreman of Woodford Reserve fame protested too much legally. Now, to be fair Sazerac protested just as much when Jim Beam put out a Cinnamon whiskey called Red Stagg, and got the Old Taylor name out of the settlement and thus Colonel E.H. Taylor bourbon was born at Buffalo Trace, but that is another story.
The warehouse that collapsed was built in the 1940’s, long prior to Sazerac’s ownership. According to some stories I have read, some work was being done to fix a wall in the warehouse. I did drop an email to my friend Mark Brown, the Sazerac CEO offering my prayers for him and his team, who replied “Thank you. Everyone is safe.” I hadn’t even expected a response in a crisis like this. But, then again, that is how Mark is.
I am hoping beyond all hope that the bourbon in that warehouse was earmarked for these bourbons or regular Barton’s and not 1792. Because 1792 is a great bourbon.
1792 has a number of expressions: the flagship Small Batch, High Rye, Sweet Wheat, Full Proof, and Bottled in Bond. Oh, and what I am drinking tonight, the 98.6 proof Single Barrel. Jim Murray awarded it Single barrel bourbon of the year in 2017.
The color on it is a nice golden amber. Very oily with long legs. A very traditional nose of corn syrup, rye spice and oak. Very balanced. On the palate it is all rye and oak spice with the corn sweetness taking a back seat, really coats the tongue. Finish is long and mouth watering, spicy with a hint of sweetness on the end. This bourbon is a good after dinner bourbon particularly if you wanted to balance out a sweet desert. A very well done bourbon you should definitely try if you haven’t, particularly since supplies may be impacted by the collapse of the warehouse.
One final note though; this is not the first time Sazerac has faced warehouse damage. A tornado ripped the roof off of a warehouse at Buffalo Trace, exposing some barrels to the elements. When Sazerac is handed lemons they make bourbon lemonade, and the Col. E.H. Taylor Tornado Surviving Bourbon was a big hit. A lot of bourbon nerds like me know this, and someone posted this picture to Facebook and it just made me laugh out loud because Sazerac might actually do this.