The Barton 1792 Distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky doesn’t make too many headlines for creative products. No, that duty generally falls to its sister company in Frankfort, Buffalo Trace Distillery but that’s now changed as Barton Master Distiller Danny Kahn is releasing not just one but three cask finished bourbons.
This branding on this new ultra-premium release goes back to the distilleries roots to use a name that whiskey historians and locals are quite familiar with and that’s Thomas S. Moore. Moore founded the original distillery that sits on this site back in 1879 that is now known as Barton 1792 Distillery. The 1792 in the name has nothing to do with the distillery that is the date that Kentucky became the 15th state. The Distillery is located on 196 acres and includes 28 warehouses, 22 other buildings, the Morton Spring and the Tom Moore Spring.
Thomas S. Moore Bourbon Whiskey Finished in Wine Casks
This range of Thomas S. Moore Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskeys has been finished in a variety of select casks from around the world. The first three expressions will be available in limited release in December. The Thomas S. Moore lineup includes bourbon aged a bit longer in a Port Finish, a Chardonnay Finish, or a Cabernet Sauvignon Finish cask.
Back in his day Thomas S. Moore established a constantly evolving whiskey empire, growing his humble operation into a powerhouse distillery, filling hundreds of barrels of whiskey a day. Business boomed until The 18th Amendment forced the Distillery to cease production in 1920. Today this namesake line of bourbons intends to honor Thomas S. Moore, an innovative bourbon pioneer.
The distillery says Barton 1792 Distillery will define a new category of “extended cask finished” bourbon whiskeys. Their signature high rye recipe bourbon is aged for many years in new charred oak barrels before filling other casks that previously matured various wines or spirits from around the world, ranging from Cognac to Cabernet to Port and more. In these fabulous casks, the bourbon aged an additional one to three years. This extended cask-finishing method results in elegant whiskeys, each displaying a distinct flavor profile, reflecting nuances of both the bourbon and the finishing cask.
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Master Distiller Danny Kahn’s Thomas S. Moore Release Notes
We reached out to Master Distillery Danny Kahn to get a bit more insight into the new release. The mashbill for this years Thomas S. Moore release is the standard Barton 1792 high rye mashbill. The whiskey in these barrels is in the 5 – 6 year range.
“I personally like the younger 5 year old bourbon since it has less barrels character and therefore more grain and fermentation character which is a better compliment for the finish barrels,” said Kahn. “All three releases use the same variants.”
We asked Kahn if he had any other experiments under way that perhaps didn’t make the cut. “Failures during experiments are expected and frankly, if we don’t fail, we are not pushing hard enough. I’m a fan of saying, ‘We do not know our limits until we exceed them,’ so we will continue to push.”
Though he wasn’t ready to share what other future experiments we could expect he did say, “We’ll need to wait and see. We do not know what is best, to release until we get there but there are many that are developing very nicely right now.”
The original bourbon barrels were aged along with all other Barton 1792 barrels. “The bourbon (before being put into the finished casks) came from a variety of locations and represents a really nice blend. The vast majority of the finished casks were stored in WH32 which is a bit more moderate in the cooler and warmer months and I like the way it contributes to the finished cask aging,” explained Kahn.
The 2020 Thomas S. Moore Bourbon release includes these three expressions.
- Thomas S. Moore Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Finished in Port Casks is described as having a taste that is soft and sweet, with subtle hints of vanilla and baking spices. This whiskey is 98.9 proof.
- Thomas S. Moore Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Finished in Chardonnay Casks has a rich taste, with notes of citrus, tropical fruit, and buttery oak. This whiskey is 97.9 proof.
- Thomas S. Moore Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Finished in Cabernet Sauvignon Casks has a bold taste, with notes of dark fruit, caramel, and vanilla. This whiskey is 95.3 proof.
The packaging is like no other in the Barton lineup featuring a tall slender bottles with imagery that pays homage to the legacy of Thomas S. Moore. Each label displays the image of a racehorse standing tall, honoring one of Moore’s earliest whiskey brands, Belle of Nelson, named for the thoroughbred who won the Kentucky Oaks in 1878.
Thomas S. Moore Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey has a suggested retail price of $69.99. The distillery says additional cask-finished releases will be unveiled every year in the fall.
Factoid: Do you know what heats the steam needed for distillation at the Barton 1792 Distillery?
- Electricity? No.
- Gas? No.
- Liquid gas? No.
- Coal? Yes. Harkening back to days of old Barton is the last distillery in the United States that still fires its steam boilers with coal.