Whiskey Review: 1792 High Rye Bourbon - The Whiskey Wash

Whiskey Review: 1792 High Rye Bourbon

1792 High Rye BourbonEditor’s Note: A sample of this whiskey was provided to us by those behind it. The Whiskey Wash, while appreciative of this, keeps full independent editorial control over this article.

The Barton 1792 Distillery is part of Bardstown, Ky.-based Barton Brands, a massive operation with 29 aging warehouses and almost two dozen other buildings to its name in Kentucky, Maryland, and California. In the whiskey family tree, Barton is owned by Sazerac, which also owns Buffalo Trace, and it produces a wide ranging portfolio of spirits. However, when it comes to whiskey, it is best known for 1792 Small Batch (formerly known as Ridgemont Reserve), which first hit the shelves in 2002.

Despite a label as widely distributed as 1792, and as big a marketing power as Sazerac is, finding detailed information about Barton’s history or products requires a bit of excavation. For some quick facts, the 1792 brand is in honor of the year Kentucky joined the Union, and the distillery actually started in 1874 under the name Morton Spring. It merged with a competitor in 1916 and was renamed at that time to Tom Moore Distillery. That name remained until Sazerac’s 2009 purchase changed it to the current name, Barton 1792 Distillery.

The success of the 1792 Small Batch Bourbon has led to a variety of limited offerings including Sweet Wheat, Port Finish, Full Proof, and Single Barrel. High Rye is the newest member of the family. The 1792 Small Batch already has a higher percentage of rye (20%) than a lot of bourbons, and this one takes it another notch up, although the specific percentage is not given. This was distilled in 2008 for a 2016 release, although the bottle does not bear an age statement.

Tasting Notes: 1792 High Rye Whiskey

Vital Stats: 94.3 proof, no age statement (but 8-year is likely), no grain bill information, $36 for a 750ml.

Appearance: Golden orange in the glass with thick and super slow legs. Attractive.

Neat: The aroma leads with vanilla extract, candied orange peel, rye spice, and a bit of heat. On the palate it is clearly a rye with the distinctive peppery spice character, cinnamon, light woodiness, and old-time candy flavors. The finish is lingering with the wood creating dryness, and some sweet and boozy notes warming the ending.

Water: With a few drops of water those previously mentioned aromas blend really well. It also becomes a bit perfumey, and adds some notes of acetone and pink eraser. On the palate the previous notes are still present, but the rye spice increases as the water opens it up, a hint of nutmeg arises. The finish is a bit quicker, but still with warmth.

Final Thoughts & Score/Buy A Bottle:

Score: 82/100

Buy NowThe first sips on a clean palate were the best. Further into the glass I noticed new aromas and flavors, sometimes welcome, sometimes clashing, coming from every direction. I really liked the complexity, but there were also some unfortunate components like the acetone, which came on as I added water. That likely will keep High Rye from being a bottle that disappears quickly from my shelf.

But since rye is really great in cocktails, and given this one’s price point, it’s a fine purchase to round out a home bar, or to sip neat (the recommended experience for this one) and appreciate a more complex rye whiskey.