Over the past few years, we at Flight Club have been fortunate to snag (and share) both the not-so-hard-to-find continuous release 1792 products (like Full Proof, Single Barrel and Small Batch) as well as the more limited and one-off 1792 releases (High Rye, Sweet Wheat, Port Finish, just to name a few). To better educate ourselves and those who follow us, we have reviewed all of these, along with several store picks. The product line is diverse, and we have found that this diversity offers a little something for just about everyone.
One of the most interesting 1792 products to our group is the Full Proof. 1792 Full Proof is 1792’s near barrel proof offering. The name “Full Proof” signifies the 125 proof at which the spirit first entered the barrel – i.e., the barrel entry proof. 1792 is non-chill filtered. The mash bill and the aging is believed to be identical to the Single Barrel and Small Batch offerings.
Full Proof was first introduced in 2016. Over at least the past two years, 1792 has offered single barrel picks of Full Proof. While we have been known to say that the standard offering Full Proof can be a bit of a hot mess, 1792 Full proof does have some very pleasing flavors throughout. And when a good Full Proof single barrel store pick comes around, these can be quite refined while still packing a mean punch. That combination speaks to us.
When Tom’s Wine and Spirits offered us the opportunity to help select a 1792 Full Proof single barrel for his store, we couldn’t turn down the opportunity. Why? Obviously, these picks can be a great deal of fun. But our interest in this one was a bit more altruistic – we wanted to help ensure that a quality 1792 pick came to our town.
Truth be told, there are some selection out there where some might say you can take a “you can’t go wrong with any of these” mentality. Our experience over time has been that 1792 offers a fairly dramatic range of profiles (admittedly, we have had several 1792 single barrel offerings that we didn’t care for). In advance of the tasting, we were not certain that we would find one of the samples that truly impressed our palate sufficient to slap our name on the bottle (and we commend Tom and his crew for sharing the philosophy). Lucky for us, we found one of the samples to be right up our alley.
Each of the samples came to Tom’s in 200 ml glass bottles, identifying the proof at 62.5% ABV and a barrel number and lot code. No warehouse or other information is provided.
Sample #1 – 1792 Full Proof Single Barrel, Barrel #3239, Lot 11-L-19.
Nose: Bubble gum/gum ball; baking spice; brown sugar; cardboard; corn cob.
Palate: Sweet red pepper; hot cinnamon; allspice; white sugar; brown sugars; ginger. Very hot.
Finish: Oak; baking spice; brown sugar. This one shows some age. It lingers nicely, with the oak and baking spice coating the tongue. Unfortunately, the palate is so hot that our tongues were burnt off by the finish.
Overall: This is a unique bourbon profile. We each agreed that there were some very interesting notes throughout, but none of us felt that the flavors played very well with one another. With the hot red pepper and cinnamon, this one drank over proof, and might too be described as a “hot mess.”
Sample #2 – 1792 Full Proof Single Barrel, Barrel #3252, Lot 11-L-19.
Nose: Buttered grilled corn; traditional bourbon vanilla and brown sugar notes, along with cinnamon and baking spice; earthy (potting soil); grape bubblegum; apricot. A complex nose, and one that lacks much of the “cardboard” nose that can come with Barton products. Approachable for 125 proof.
Palate: Creamy. Grape soda; baking spice; dry oak; cream soda. Delicious. Not overly saturated with flavor, but also not overly saturated with heat.
Finish: Medium in length. Sweet gum ball; vanilla; wafer cookies; brown sugar; oak. Nothing off-putting here in any way. In fact, the vanilla and wafer cookies lingers on the tongue nicely, inviting the creamy/fruity character of the palate to come back for more.
Overall: We indicated that 1792 can have a wide range of profiles. This one hits us a bit unlike any of the other 1792 profiles have hit us before. While this one is no-doubt a traditional bourbon profile, the rich flavors brought about by the high proof, without the associated burn, are unique. If you like a traditional bourbon, but want to ratchet it up to 11, this one may be the pick for you.
Sample #3 – 1792 Full Proof Single Barrel, Barrel #3287, Lot 11-L-19.
Nose: Black pepper; char; cola; beef jerky; vanilla, burnt sugar. The beefiness has us intrigued.
Palate: Sweet brown sugar and spicy heat; beefy; some background grape bubblegum and sharp sugar. Flavorful.
Finish: Bubble gum; corn; cardboard; fennel.
Overall: This is a solid sample. However, it didn’t stack up to Sample #2, and we knew that right away. Could this have been a “it’s good enough” sample? Sure. But luckily, we weren’t confronted as this as our only option. Good, but not good enough.
Once we tried Sample #2, were all knew we had found a selection that met our criteria. This selection offered well-balanced approach to 1792, complete with a balanced array of sweet, earthy and spice notes, along with a creamy mouthfeel. While some 1792 Full Proofs can be overpowering, this one felt as if it drank under the 125 stated proof.
We are excited to help Tom’s Wine and Spirits bring this 1792 Full Proof single barrel to market. Pick one up before the bottle – along with its Full Metal Jacket sticker – are sold out.
Scott is a co-founder of Flight Club and a frequent writer and reviewer on the Club’s blog.