August 6, 2020
At this point I think most of us know that Buffalo Trace dominates the hearts and minds of many whiskey drinkers. What is often lost upon some is that Buffalo Trace is owned by The Sazerac Company, who also happens to own Barton 1792, a distillery about 60 miles away from Buffalo Trace. Barton 1792 for the most part gets less attention, although the limited releases such as 1792 Sweet Wheat, Port Finish, High Rye, and 12 Year get varying levels of elevated attention. Although both are owned by the same parent company, Barton 1792 does things a little differently than Buffalo Trace, using a different mashbill (although I can’t specify how different) and different bottle shape (that counts right?) among other things.
One thing they do have in common is that Buffalo Trace and 1792 both offer a high proof bourbon in the $50-60 MSRP range: Buffalo Trace with Stagg Jr and 1792 with 1792 Full Proof Bourbon. Stagg Jr is actually cask strength, hence why the ABV of every batch is different, while 1792 is bottled at “full proof”, meaning the same as the entry proof of the white dog into the barrel. They’re technically different but the end result is similar as both are still above 62% ABV. With these two bourbons from the same parent company and similar proofs, let’s find out just how similar they are in this Stagg Jr vs 1792 Full Proof Bourbon comparison.
The below table outlines key facts and figures for both bourbons.
I hate to say it again, but I prefer Stagg Jr Batch 7. Stagg Jr Batch 7 and 1792 Full Proof have bourbon-y overlap, yet it’s clear that they’ve lived different lives. 1792 Full Proof Bourbon is a more oaky, grassy, dry, and tannic bourbon (I might even call it more brutish) that drinks like your quintessential bourbon. Full Proof has prominent citrus with less apple and other fruity notes. Stagg Jr has some similar traits but with more fruitiness (e.g., cherry, guava, peach, berries) and brightness, and less oak and overall dryness. For an unfinished bourbon, Stagg Jr has a delicate and fruity character that accentuates the tropical fruits and licorice from the rye that draw me in. My love of more fruit-forward flavors also explains why I like finished bourbons so much. 1792 Full Proof is also great, but comparatively less interesting.
That said, both are very rich and intense bourbons that clearly pack a ton of flavor and heat into that 62+% ABV, but even smelling them side by side quickly makes it clear that Stagg Jr and 1792 Full Proof were going to go down different paths. Don’t go into 1792 Full Proof thinking that it’ll be like Stagg Jr. Given the (rare) opportunity, I’ll still pick Stagg Jr over 1792 Full Proof.