thomas moore chardonnay finish bourbon review
Thomas Moore Chardonnay Finish Bourbon
Distillery: Barton 1792
Type & Region: Bourbon, Kentucky, USA
Composition: 74% corn, 18% rye, 8% barley
Aged: NAS but rumored to be ~5 years old before the finish
Color: 1.5/2.0 on the color scale (auburn, polished mahogany)
From the press release:
“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.”
thomas moore chardonnay finish bourbon overview
Thomas Moore Chardonnay Finish Bourbon is one of three wine-finished bourbons released by 1792 Barton to experiment with extended cask finishing (port, cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay). To Barton, extended means 1-3ish years, which I would also define as extended when most finishes are 3-6 months, so that’s interesting. I’m not entirely sure if the chardonnay finish in this is closer to 1 or 3 years though. This also marks Barton’s initial release of their “ultra-premium” line of bourbons, whatever the heck that means.
Chardonnay is a type of white wine that comes from all over the world. Like many white wines, the scents and flavors tend to focus on bright, vibrant, and tropical flavors such as green apple, pineapple, pear, and green grapes (duh I guess). It actually sounds a bit like MGP rye doesn’t it? Anyways, let’s find out what this 1+ year chardonnay cask finish does in the Thomas Moore Chardonnay Cask Finish Bourbon review.
thomas moore chardonnay finish bourbon smell
Immediately there’s this interesting juxtaposition of darker bourbon (roasted caramel, dried apple, peach, roasted oak, cinnamon, vanilla buttercream) and this brighter chardonnay tang (or at least I think it’s the wine finish), with a little tobacco and fresh coffee grounds. I sort of get this brighter white wine and white grape character, although combined with the bourbon, it comes off more like apricot, which I guess is also a brighter smelling fruit. And because Chardonnay is a white wine, it does add more of top-end sweetness and brightness whereas cabernet sauvignon and port added a lot more low-end dark berry. So far it smells pretty good but still surface level.
After swirling, the white wine clean, fresh, and kind of metallic green grape cuts through the scents at first followed by the darker caramel, apple, apricot, funky vanilla buttercream, oak, cinnamon, clove, tobacco, cocoa powder, and a light wood must. More so now than before, I’m realizing that the chardonnay finish does not mesh well with the bourbon because it’s so bright and the bourbon so dark. They are polar opposites that haven’t married together. The wine finish also creates a metallic alcohol scent that’s strange to smell. It’s not hot, just not so pleasant and it lightly veils all over the bourbon, which seems to smell fine on its own.
thomas moore chardonnay finish bourbon taste & aftertaste
Thomas Moore Chardonnay Cask Finish has a darker honey mixed with caramel, baked apple, peach, apricot, vanilla, oak tannins, cinnamon, cocoa powder, coffee grounds, and tannins. I also immediately get brighter white wine notes (think brighter fruits) trying to mingle with the much darker and roasted bourbon. It’s a strange contrasting white wine brightness and tang, and bourbon darkness that feels like they don’t belong together. At least there isn’t much heat.
With “chewing” I taste brighter honey and green apple from the white wine, then darker caramel, red apple, apricot, vanilla, oak, cinnamon, clove, and black pepper. Thomas Moore Chardonnay Cask doesn’t taste bad, just weird, in part because of the tangy metallic flavor as if the cask finish and bourbon don’t belong together. It just seems like they never really integrated, and it’s a little strange to taste.
The finish has more of that white wine and grape zing, oak tannins, and a little orange. I also get this slightly metallic tang I sometimes find with white wine itself. After “chewing” I get slightly tannic, bright, and metallic sweetness followed by something lightly floral, coffee grounds, and maybe a little pear and green grape. It’s a strange finish to say the least, especially with that metallic and minerally note.
Place on the Whiskey Shelf
I’ve used the word “strange” a lot in this Thomas Moore Chardonnay Cask Bourbon review because the chardonnay cask finish smells and tastes out of place. I don’t think chardonnay cask finishes are inherently bad, but this one feels poorly integrated. The finish layers-on brighter and metallic green grape sweetness that opposes the darker bourbon notes, creating a conflicting experience that yanks me back and forth between opposites. The finish doesn’t seem to emphasize or accentuate certain traits in the bourbon, it’s more of a separate clashing layer on top. The metallic quality of the chardonnay also isn’t all that pleasant, emphasizing the alcohol tang and making the finish a tad unpleasant.
Thomas Moore Chardonnay Finish Bourbon is not a bad bourbon per-se, but this is easily my least favorite of the three Thomas Moore Finished Bourbons (Cabernet Sauvignon, Port, Chardonnay). I recommend avoiding this one unless stores are clearing this out for < $40.
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