Bourbon Review: 1792 Ridgemont Reserve

For those of you who are not history buffs, 1792 is the year Kentucky became a state. Kentucky was part of Virginia until it became the 15th state. If you do love history you have to love the simplicity of this bourbon’s name. Simply put: 1792.

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The following history was taken from Caskers’s website:

In 1876, John D. Willett, one of Kentucky’s original bourbon aristocrats, transferred his interest in the Willett & Frenke Distillery to his son-in-laws, Benjamin Mattingly and Thomas Moore. Mattingly and Moore continued to operate the Willett & Frenke Distillery together until 1881, when Mattingly finally sold his stake in the company to a group of investors.

In 2012, at the Ultimate Spirits Challenge, 1792 tied Pappy Van Winkle’s 23 Year Old Bourbon with a score of 95 points.

This is a very good bourbon with plenty of spice to make it interesting.  It has a sweet smell and taste to it. It’s definitely different than many other bourbons on the market. I read a lot of older reviews and the reviews get better every year. I have only been drinking it for a few years now and I have enjoyed it from the beginning (as you can see, my current bottle is almost gone!). At $24.99 this is real delight. I got my last bottle at Hi-Time Wine Cellars where you can find just any bourbon you desire.

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Here is a nice video for 1792 that Barton Distilling put out in January:

Aged: 8 years
Proof: 93.7
Color: Amber
Aroma: Spice, Sweet Vanilla
Taste: Pepper, oak
Price: $24.99 at Hi-Time Wine Cellars

Whiskey, Taxes, and a Little History

Whiskey is woven throughout the history of America, whether it was the Whiskey Rebellion, prohibition, the roaring 20’s and speakeasies, or today with the renaissance of the Bourbon Trail, mixology, and classic cocktails.  Caskers in New York City posted a new Bourbon for sale yesterday that I had never heard of, with an ironic historical name, “Bower Hill.” What grabbed my attention, being a bit of history buff, was the name. Bower Hill was the home of Tax Inspector John Neville — a central figure of the Whiskey Rebellion.

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Here is the story from Caskers’s website:

In 1794 a group of approximately 600 Mingo Creek militiamen surrounded Federal Tax Inspector John Neville’s fortified home, rebelling against the Excise Whiskey Tax of 1791. The farmers and militiamen taking part in this “Whiskey Rebellion” were fighting for the very same principles which fueled the American Revolution, and during the attack on Neville’s home — Bower Hill — two rebel leaders were killed, including Revolutionary War Major James McFarlane. Upon completion of the two-day battle, Neville’s home was razed by fire, and now, Bower Hill and the Whiskey Rebellion are commemorated with a new rebellious spirit, Bower Hill Single Barrel Bourbon.

Distilled and aged in Louisville, Kentucky, Bower Hill Barrel Reserve Bourbon has a warm amber appearance and an aroma of vanilla spice and rich, charred oak. On the palate, there are more spicy oak tannins complemented by lush fruits and wheat toast, leading to a long, smooth finish defined by caramel and popcorn.

Bower Hill Barrel Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon just hit the market in 2015 — be the first to pick up a bottle today!

Isn’t that a great story, and what a good looking bottle! It’s a relatively new bourbon – released in 2015. I need to spend a little more time researching who makes this and what the story is behind the bourbon.

There are so many whiskeys and bourbons with historic names. George Washington is the first to come to mind. I have a bottle of Rye Whiskey from George Washington’s Distillery at Mount Vernon, Virginia (that’s a neat tour btw, we visited the distillery last spring when we were in Virginia visiting our daughter).

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Jefferson’s is the another. Some of their bottles even have Thomas Jefferson’s image on them.

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Booker Noe named Knob Creek after the small stream that flows through Abraham Lincoln’s childhood home in Kentucky.

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Another one that comes to mind is 1792 — the year Kentucky became a state (did you know prior to becoming a state it was part of Virginia?).

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And, Calumet is named for the horse farm that bred many Derby and Triple Crown Winners.

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Reviews on many of these are to come.  There are many more stories behind the names of today’s whiskey brands. Next time you pick up a bottle look into its history, then sip in the sweet success of years of the distiller’s craftsmanship. I, personally, can’t wait to try Bower Hill!

All of these bourbons are available on Caskers’s website. I’ve included links to them below:

George Washington Estate Rye Whiskey (Sold out, they usually release in December)

Jefferson’s Reserve Very Old Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Knob Creek Reserve Single Barrel Bourbon

1792 Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Calumet Farm Bourbon Whiskey

(This post was not sponsored by Caskers. I am just a big fan! It’s a great website to go to learn about bourbons and buy online.)

 

My 3+ Favorite Bourbons

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Talking about my 3 favorite Bourbons is a little like trying to list my 3 favorite cars. Pick a category: sports car, race car, weekend driver.   When it comes to bourbon is it neat, on the rocks, best mixer, or best value? How do you pick just 3 from so many good Bourbons? So, I will give this post a qualifier: today I’m talking about my favorite everyday bourbons I drink. Because, given unlimited money, supply, or special occasions you’re talking a whole different ballgame.

In my opinion, you can’t beat Blanton’s Original Single Barrel – either neat, or over a large ice cube (don’t let it get too much water in it). It’s easy to find, regularly on sale, and really smooth. I am also a big fan of 1792 (the year Kentucky joined the Union). It’s an excellent bourbon at a fantastic price point.  Next on my list is Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon. Blanton’s and Woodford are my 2 sipping whiskies on a regular basis. BTW, if you ever visit the Bourbon Trail, Woodford does an incredible “Corn to Cork” tour that I highly recommend.

If you are looking for a craft bourbon at a good price point, Old Pogue is one of my favorites. It’s spicy and complex, but the distillery is so small it’s not even available right now unless you find a liquor store with a dusty bottle left on the shelf. Go to their website and get on the waiting list; its worth the wait. Also, the Old Pogue tour is the subject of a future blog.

If you are mixing mint juleps or our house’s favorite drink, bourbon and ginger (with a lime), Evan Williams Black Label does the trick. In the Fall 2015 Whiskey Advocate Lew Bryson wrote an article titled “In Praise of ‘Table Bourbon’” a la the way French have “table wine.”

It’s a bourbon that good for everyday drinking-well made, ready for a cocktail, a simple highball, or ice destruction duties-and priced for everyday drinking, too. one of the best values in Bourbon. You can get a bottle of good bourbon for under $25, from the same distilleries, the same warehouses, the same barrels and mashbills as bourbons that are hyped, rare, and over $100 a bottle.

Evan Williams is a great “table bourbon.” You can find the 1.75L Evan Williams Black Label on sale at big spirits stores and grocery chains for $14.99 to $17.99 if you keep an eye on the ads. Well worth stocking up for mixing and parties. This is what we use for mint juleps at our annual Derby Party (more on that later this spring).

But, how can I not mention Maker’s Mark, Knob Creek Kentucky Straight Bourbon, and Angel’s Envy Cask Strength (more on Angel’s Envy on Thursday). It’s hard for me to even stop there. That is why my bar cart has over 25 Bourbons on it. So, moral of the story, I’m having trouble narrowing my favorite everyday bourbons down to 3.  The beauty of today’s market is there are many bourbons for many tastes. Bourbon and whiskeys like wine and should and can suit your particular tastes. My opinion? Don’t listen to the experts, drink what you like.