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What's the Deal with 1792 Bourbon?

Known for winning awards, great value for your dollar and nobody talking about it all that much, 1792 bourbon is new brand with a lot of history.

small batch bourbon 1792
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Everything you need to know about the most popular bourbon whiskey on shelves today. This time: 1792 Small Batch Bourbon, a high-value bourbon brand with ultra-famous family members.

What is 1792 Bourbon?

One of the most-awarded whiskey labels today few bourbonites know much about, for one. The brand's Full Proof expression — a barrel proof, high-rye bourbon — even grabbed a Jim Murray Whiskey of the Year nod in 2020. If there's a single attribute that unites the lineup — which includes Full Proof, 12-Year-Old, Sweet Wheat, Single Barrel, High Rye, Bottled-in-Bond and Port Finish — it's value. Generally speaking, 1792 whiskey is held in high regard by reviewers and the tasting competition circuit while retaining very fair pricing. The inverse is typically true; when whiskeys win a bunch of awards, the price grows with its prestige.

Who makes 1792 Bourbon?

The 1792 bourbon brand is made by Barton 1792 Distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky. As far as bourbon brands go, 1792 is new (launched in 2002), but the distillery is old. It was founded in 1879 by Tom Moore and Benjamin Mattingly with money from the Willett family (like the other whiskey brand) and called Mattingly & Moore Distillery. After a number of ownership changes, Prohibition and significant changes in the whiskey market, the distillery fell into the hands of its current owners.

From a production perspective, the most notable throughline between the brand's whiskeys is rye content. Though the exact mashbill information isn't available, experts and bourbon hobbyists alike can taste a high-rye bourbon when they taste it, and 1792 whiskey almost certainly falls in that category. Though high-rye bourbon is common still — think Old Grand-Dad, Four Roses Small Batch Select, Bulleit and so on — its high-octane drinking experience is the opposite of wheated bourbons, another increasingly popular bourbon subcategory.

While better known for 1792 brand whiskeys, the Barton 1792 Distillery produces many regionally available lower shelf bourbon like Colonel Lee, Kentucky Gentleman and Very Old Barton.

Who owns 1792 Bourbon?

While the distillery has gone through numerous ownership changes, the brand itself has only ever been controlled by two companies — first Constellation Brands and now Sazerac Company. The former created the brand (though it was called 1792 Ridgemont Reserve initially) in 2002 and the latter purchased it, along with the distillery and all other assets, in 2009. Because it's owned by Sazerac some erroneously believe it's managed by Sazerac's other, more famous Kentucky bourbon institution — Buffalo Trace Distillery — but the distilleries and respective brands are operated independently of each other.

How much does 1792 Bourbon cost?

Considering its trophy cabinet, it's evident that 1792 is a high-value bourbon brand for drinkers. The two most popular expressions are Small Batch (~$35) and Full Proof (~$60) are both available at competitive prices and are typically easy enough to find, despite both allocated to distributors and retailers based on availability. It's difficult to say how long stable pricing will last; while the brand has traditionally skirted big price jumps as a result of hype or limited availability, there's reason to believe that's changing. Google Trend search data suggests more drinkers are searching for and discovering the brand, while spirit price-tracking app BoozApp reported 1792 is one of the five most searched brands on the platform.

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