Editor’s Note: These whiskeys were provided to us as review samples by Barton 1792. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of these reviews.
The Thomas S. Moore series of bourbons is a new part of the Barton 1792 distillery’s line up of whiskeys, which has been a cool brand to follow over time. The 1792 line has had several releases over the years, including a Full Proof, Single Barrel, Bottled in Bond and Port Barrel finish, among others. This new line signifies more exploration into both premium bottlings and also barrel finishes, particularly into the wine realm.
What’s at the heart of the new More releases consists of Barton 1792 bourbons with a high rye mash bill that have been finished for an extended period of time in a range of secondary cask types that previously matured various wines or spirits from around the world. Plans call for this to be an ongoing series of limited edition offerings, varying yearly with the finishing casks chosen. For 2020 the cask types chosen are a Port Finish, Chardonnay Finish and Cabernet Sauvignon finish.
In general, wine cask finishes don’t often age for too long. However in this case, the people at Barton went the extra mile, allowing whiskey to rest in secondary barrel for a number of years. Given my experiences over the years, this can be a varied experience. When it comes to a secondary barreling, balance is the challenge.
In regards to the series here, I was curious as to the barrel choices by the distillery. Naturally red wine barrels will certainly pair well with bourbon whiskey, though I’ll admit to being quite curious as to the chardonnay barrel finish version.
Tasting Notes: Thomas S. Moore Bourbon Finished in Port Cask
Vital Stats: 98.9 proof, 49.45% ABV. Finished in secondary cask of ruby port for about three years. ~ $70 per 750ml bottle.
Appearance: Given the extra aging in Port cask, this appeared a touch lighter than expected. I thus discovered the whiskey to have a color of dark copper with red hues. In the glass, there were multiple thin legs, guessing to the sweetness of the port influence.
Nose: At the beginning, there was definitely the impression of some richness due to the extra aging. However, there was a simplicity to it all with caramel up-front with a touch of citrus. At 98.9 proof, it certainly didn’t smell as such. Definitely something you can return to time and again, just for fun.
Palate: Oak, leather, and sweet to keep it simple. On the palate, had a medium body with an elegant finish. For flavors, think baking spices with an element of vanilla sweetness.
Final Thoughts: This was an easy sipper. Nothing too crazy, simply comforting. There’s the richness imparted from the Port cask finish which compliments the high rye bourbon.
Tasting Notes: Thomas S. Moore Bourbon Finished in Chardonnay Cask
Vital Stats: 97.9 proof, 48.95% ABV. Finished in secondary cask of Chardonnay cask for about four years. ~ $70 per 750ml bottle.
Appearance: A very pale shade of orange, possibly on the side of reddish. From the looks of it, a bit more on the lighter side of things. In the glass, legs were a fair amount of legs, though pretty evenly spaced, probably indicating a touch less sugars from the others here.
Nose: When you put nose to glass, the experience is immediately hot and astringent. Not going to lie. However, given a swirl and some space, the fruitier notes came out to play. It becomes brighter, with the beginnings of fall fruit. Pear and green apple become the primaries and just enough brown sugar to balance things out.
Palate: Yes, this tasting was true to the nose. Lighter on body, but certainly makes an impression. The heat is noticeable, but doesn’t hinder things at all. Bright and acidic, reminding one of a walk through an apple orchard. There was also an unexpected flavor in the finish of slivered almonds.
Final Thoughts: Out of the bunch, this was the most interesting. One may think chardonnay barrel and bourbon might not be a fit. In this case, the chardonnay brought a delightful brightness to the whiskey. I suppose, it may also depend on what you’re in the mood for, but I may have done a brief happy dance when tasting this one.
Tasting Notes: Thomas S. Moore Bourbon Finished in Cabernet Cask
Vital Stats: 95.3 proof, 47.65% ABV. About two and a half years in Cabernet casks. ~ $70 per 750ml bottle.
Appearance: Certainly a dark orange and gives way to hints of a lighter bodied spirit. There were some legs in the glass, but less than one may expect.
Nose: I believe the word for this one is smooth. A hint of just enough of heat to notice, but soon gives way to honey and citrus.
Palate: This is certainly better explained on the palate. Still simple, and also bold flavors. One may envision a milk chocolate orange truffle, with a whiff of booziness. It takes a bit, but after a moment, you can pick up a mix of amarena cherry and orange zest.
Final Thoughts: It’s certainly a solid whiskey, though not a game-changer. The balance was there, but also something missing, if that makes sense.
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Kenji is a bartender in Portland, Oregon at the Pope House Bourbon Lounge. A bourbon enthusiast for decades. He likes big whiskeys, pretty much anything over 100 proof.