Wednesday, June 10, 2015
Barton to Release 1792 Sweet Wheat Bourbon
In January of 2009, Sazerac acquired from Constellation Brands the Barton 1792 Distillery in Bardstown as well as a large portfolio of brands, including a super premium bourbon, 1792.
As Sazerac (which also owns Buffalo Trace) dug in, they discovered that Barton had been making wheated bourbon for no apparent reason, i.e., they had no wheated bourbon products nor was there any indication that they had been making it for a customer. At the time, Sazerac said they weren't sure what they were going to do with it. Now we know.
Wheated bourbon is a style of bourbon that uses wheat in the mashbill instead of rye. It is not to be confused with wheat whiskey, in which wheat is more than 51 percent of the mashbill. In a wheated bourbon, wheat is typically 12 to 15 percent of the mashbill, the bulk of which is still corn. The best known examples are Maker's Mark, W. L. Weller, and Old Fitzgerald.
The flagship expression of 1792 was launched in 2003. It is a rye-recipe bourbon with a higher-than-normal barley malt content, although the exact percentage has never been disclosed. It also features a yeast strain not used for any other brands. The product was created by Barton Master Distiller Bill Friel not long before he retired. Barton was late to the super premium bourbon game but 1792 was well received. (Named, by the way, for the year Kentucky became a state.)
Now the Barton 1792 Distillery is set to release its first 1792 line extension, called 1792 Sweet Wheat. It was distilled in 2007 so, like the flagship, it is eight years old.
“Using wheat instead of rye gives the taste profile a softer and more delicate flavor,” said Ken Pierce, director of distillation and quality assurance. “The soft flavor is balanced by rich oak tannins extracted by the bourbon while aging in the charred oak barrels.”
Wheated bourbons tend to taste sweeter than rye-recipe bourbons. They aren't, but they seem sweeter because rye adds dryness. With no rye to balance it, all of the sweetness from the wood shines through.
1792 Sweet Wheat is bottled at 91.2° proof (45.6% ABV). Bottles are expected to hit stores this summer at a suggested retail price of $32.99. The distillery plans to release several additional expressions of 1792 over the next few years. “We have some remarkable whiskeys aging in Bardstown,” said marketing director Kris Comstock. “We’re excited to unveil them over the next several years.”
The Barton 1792 Distillery is part of Barton Brands of Kentucky, with facilities in Bardstown, Ky., Carson, Calif., and Baltimore, Md. Barton Brands is owned by the Sazerac Company, an American family-owned company based in New Orleans, LA. Barton 1792 Distillery was established in 1879 by Tom Moore and continues today as the oldest fully-operating distillery in the 'Bourbon Capital of the World,' as Bardstown likes to call itself.
The Barton 1792 Distillery is located on 196 acres and includes 28 warehouses, 22 other buildings, the Morton Spring and the Tom Moore Spring. It has a gift shop and offers tours.