When you buy as much whiskey as I do, there will be times when you have multiples of a product. Either because you were afraid it would be out of stock soon, it was on sale with a deal too good to pass up or because you just felt like treating yourself and buying it.
Yes. I have a bit of a shopping problem.
In any case I recently ended up doing exactly that last thing on the list. I was in the store, looking to grab a six pack of beer to serve with the pizza I was making for Friday night, when I noticed a rack of 1792 bourbon in the corner with a big sign at the top proclaiming it to be $23.99. When I got over there, I also noticed that it had a sticker on it proclaiming it to be a “Single Barrel Select” that had been selected for my local liquor store. (Yes, it says selected for, not by.)
A long time ago, I picked up a store selection of 1792 to compare to the base release and found almost no difference between the two. Frankly, I expected the same this time around, but it was a good price and, dang it, I wanted to treat myself. So I picked it up even knowing I had a bottle in the closet at home that I acquired at the Master Distiller’s Auction in Bardstown. But, trying them side-by-side, I was pleasantly surprised. The difference wasn’t huge, but it was big enough to be discernible.
This is why I love whiskey. This sort of thing is so much fun!
1792 Bourbon: Regular Release vs Store Single Barrel (MGM Wine & Spirits)
Purchase Info: ~$20, 750 mL bottle. Master Distiller’s Auction, Kentucky Bourbon Festival.
Details: 46.85% ABV
Nose: Spearmint, pear, cinnamon and oak.
Mouth: Soft mouthfeel with a lot of heat. Black pepper, mint, caramel/vanilla and oak.
Finish: Hot and on the short side of medium. Lingering mint and black pepper.
MGM Wine and Spirits Single Barrel Select:
Purchase Info: $23.99, 750 mL bottle. MGM Wine and Spirits, Prior Lake, MN
Details: 46.85% ABV
Nose: Wet rock, soap, fruit, vanilla, oak and hints of mint.
Mouth: Not as hot and sweeter than the regular release with brown sugar and a generic fruitiness added to the black pepper, mint and oak of the regular release.
Finish: Warm, but on the short side with a lingering sweet fruitiness.
Thoughts: This is what I want when I grab a store pick and do a head-to-head. This is certainly within the 1792 flavor profile, but there are enough differences for me to notice. Actually, I could wish this was the profile of the regular release. Though it is good, I hesitate to buy 1792 normally because I like my bourbon a little on the sweet side with a little less heat than your normal 1792 brings along with it. This is slightly milder, and I think that for me it is just about perfect for that flavor profile.
I completely recommend that you do this experiment yourself if you get the opportunity. Buy a store pick (doesn’t have to be 1792), but grab the regular one too should you have the opportunity. Compare them. Decide which you like better. Figure out why. Because the list of variables here will be smaller, this experiment will go a long way toward helping you decide the sorts of things you like. And heck, it’s just plain fun.
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