1792 Full Proof Bourbon​ review

1792 Full Proof Bourbon

1792 full proof bourbon review

Distillery: Barton

Type & Region: Bourbon, Kentucky, USA

Alcohol: 62.5%

Composition: 74% corn, 18% rye, 8% barley

Aged: ~7-8 years in virgin American white oak

Color: 1.3/2.0 on the color scale (russet, muscat)

Price: $50-60 MSRP

From the 1792 Barton website:

“Bourbon insiders have long acknowledged that full proof bourbon has a distinguished and rich flavor. This bourbon underwent a distinct filtering process,forgoing the typical chill filtration and passing only through a plate and frame filter. This allowed the bourbon to maintain a robust proof for bottling, as well as a full, rich and bold flavor. Bottled at its original 125 barrel entry proof, just as it was years ago when the barrels were first filled, 1792 Full Proof Bourbon is exceptionally distinct”

Company Website

1792 Full Proof Bourbon​ overview

1792 Full Proof is Barton’s sort of cask strength bourbon. I say “sort of” because full proof doesn’t exactly mean cask strength, but rather the white dog’s barrel entry proof, in this case 125 proof. Technicalities aside, 125 proof is virtually cask strength as most cask strength bourbons are 110-130 proof (55-65% ABV) anyways.


While I’m talking about bourbon facts, here’s another one for you – Barton is owned by The Sazerac Company, who also owns Buffalo Trace. Although they are owned by the same parent company, they use different mashbills and are located 60 miles apart, so for the most part they probably operate as independent distilleries. Even though 1792 Full Proof is a virtually cask strength bourbon from the same parent company as Buffalo Trace, I wouldn’t quite say that Full Proof is the same as Stagg Jr, but I’ll get to that at another time.

One last fun fact for you – Jim Murray, a prominent whiskey writer that I know little about, selected 1792 Full Proof Bourbon as his 2020 world whisky of the year. That’s very high praise from a well-known bourbon writer, so let’s find out how much I agree in this 1792 Full Proof Bourbon review. 

1792 Full Proof Bourbon​ smell

After letting 1792 Full Proof sit for 30 minutes (you need to do this), I smell very citrusy honey buoyed by alcohol, followed by smoked oak, vanilla cake frosting, spiced apple, licorice, and toasted grain. Seriously, having drank though about a quarter of this bottle before reviewing, you really have to let this sit for 30 minutes, otherwise the heat will trample you. After I get past the heat, the nose is actually quite lovely and interesting. The longer you wait, the better it smells. 

 

After swirling and letting it settle again, I smell a lot of vanilla buttercream and caramel, immediately followed by roasted oak, very ripe pear and apple, orange peel, licorice, anise, and mint. The alcohol remains quite forward, but not overpowering, although a strong sniff might take it over the top. Full Proof is actually quite fruity, far from the level of a finished bourbon such as Joseph Magnus Bourbon, but it’s still quite noticeable for me. The licorice and anise notes from the rye come out as well, and the vanilla seems to provide this enveloping roundness and richness around everything. While I wouldn’t call this intensely dark and roasty, Full Proof does skew more towards that, and I’m enjoying a lot.

 

1792 Full Proof Bourbon has a big nose with heat that jostles me a little, so you definitely want to be patient with this to get the full and awesome experience.

1792 Full Proof Bourbon​ taste & aftertaste

1792 Full Proof has an intense and viscous mix of vanilla, caramel, and licorice that explode on contact with my tongue, followed by a surge of smoky oak, cinnamon, orange, apple, and heat. It’s incredibly flavorful with nearly as much heat, making it a burly and occasionally challenging bourbon to process.

 

“Chewing” brings out even more of the sweet caramel and vanilla cream with secondary apple, peach, and licorice followed by growing dry oak, cinnamon, nutmeg, and little roasted grain. 1792 Full Proof is packed with sweetness, oak, spice, and heat, but even with all of that, the fruitiness is never buried under everything else. It’s not that fruit-forward, but it still holds its own. I’m glad that its always able to be found, just sometimes more than others.

 

The finish is dry, tannic, and sweet with oak, caramel, vanilla, and citrus that transition into continued oak, licorice, and slightly savory smoked meat and cracker notes. I can feel the alcohol coat my throat and stomach as it warms me. Even after “chewing” the finish is still very toasted with tannins, coffee grounds, roasted caramel, vanilla, and mint that just keep going. It’s a very long and pleasant finish for a strong and intense bourbon that isn’t afraid to beat you up a little. 

Place on the Whiskey Shelf

Top Shelf

1792 Full Proof Bourbon has two very distinct moods. In the first 20-30 minutes after pouring, it’s a flamethrower that will singe your nose hairs and tongue. After 30-40 minutes, it calms down drastically, morphing into a steady flame that will only burn you if you’re careless and don’t treat it with respect. It’s at this point that Full Proof becomes a fantastically rich, fragrant, and flavorful bourbon that’s worth savoring. My point is, approach 1792 Full Proof Bourbon with caution and patience and you’ll be greatly rewarded.


1792 Full Proof, like many other bourbons from the major distilleries, adheres to the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” motto. Even then, all the traditional elements are done well to create a big and awesome bourbon with heaping amounts of caramel and vanilla, smoked oak and wood spices, and supporting yet never hidden fruitiness. I am docking 1792 a little for the heat though. Yes, I know that 125 proof is inherently not gentle, but I’ve had bourbons with similar, if not more alcohol, that weren’t as hot.


I really hope that the insane Stagg Jr mania doesn’t completely bleed over to Full Proof. At the end of all of this, I think that 1792 Full Proof is a great bourbon that embodies a well-crafted traditional bourbon. At $50-60, it’s a no brainer for your whiskey shelf. To answer the original question I set out to answer – Do I agree with Jim Murray about it being the top whisky of 2020? Probably not, but I have a feeling Jim and I have very different criteria and preferences. I agree that it’s very good, but there are a number of other whiskeys I’d pick over this.

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