Whiskey Review – 1792 Ridgemont Reserve and Eagle Rare

Well, then.  That was a nice little break, now wasn’t it?

Sorry for the radio silence.  Life got in the way a bit, but I’m glad to say that I’m back at it, pouring brown liquids down the hatch and letting you know what I think.  Today’s topic?  Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey.  Two iterations, in fact (I’m blogging so slowly that I’m falling behind my drinking, hence the doubling up).  You see, I was watching the Final Four and the national championship game, witnessing the utter dominance of Anthony Davis and his freakishly talented teammates, and I figured that now is as good a time as any to highlight some Kentucky juice.

Before I get to the tasting, a word on Calipari & Co.  The Wildcats were an amazing team, they played hard, they played the game right, and they were absolutely deserving of the title.  But I think that Green Bay Packers Tight End Tom Crabtree (@TCrabtree83) put it best when, with Kansas trailing toward the end of the game, he Tweeted: “Kansas can either comeback and win this thing now, or win it in 3-5 years when Kentucky is forced to vacate it.”  In other words, John Calipari, while a top recruiter, master motivator and a hell of an in-game coach, has the moral compass of a mug of bongwater.  Both UMass and Memphis have had to vacate successful seasons from his time there, and it won’t be a surprise when Kentucky will have to do the same.

Enough of that downer, though.  In honor of Kentucky’s victory, and the upcoming Kentucky Derby, here are my tasting notes.

I’m a bad photographer.

1792 Ridgemont Reserve Barrel Select (Aged 8 Years)

Nose – Just lovely.  I’m fond of so many bourbons on the nose, and this one doesn’t disappoint.  Some green pepper/stony scent.  Floral perfume.  Wood chips.  And some fruit – banana perhaps?  I’d like this to be my cologne.

Taste – Wow.  This goes from sweet and quaint on the nose to a monster on the palate.  Big, mouth-filling, puckering flavors.  Very heavy on the oak.  Licorice.  I get almost no sweetness whatsoever.  Something of a rye-type of flavor.

Finish – Pretty long, and like I said, it infuses your entire mouth and nose with the flavor.  Still that oak, but a hint of something like tobacco and just a whiff of lavender?

Comment – An interesting whiskey.  I know a lot of people are into it, but I’m learning that I really need that sweet note at some point, and I don’t get it here (which is somewhat strange, as I’ve read some other reviews describing it as overly sweet).

ScoreB-.  Obviously not my favorite, but I can see how others enjoy it.  To me, it was like taking a big bite of wood chips with a couple of flower petals mixed in.

Other, better reviews:

Official tasting notes

Sipology

The Beverage Baron

$25

No, seriously. I’m terrible.

Eagle Rare Single Barrel (Aged 10 Years)

Nose – Again, a lot of oak and green pepper.  Molasses and something like a latte.  Singes the nose hairs a bit.

Taste – Starts with big oak right up front, then comes some brown sugar/creme brulee.  Dark Chocolate and leather.

Finish – While not the longest finish, it seems to be active.  Things are happening in your mouth.  Good things.  Still with the wood, but also vanilla and a hint of lemon.  Somewhat drying.

Comment – Another big, mouth-filling whiskey.  Not light or refreshing.  Similar to the Ridgemont Reserve on the nose and with the huge oak on the palate, but differing in the considerable sweet flavors.

ScoreB+.  Of the two bourbons, I obviously preferred this one, but it isn’t the type of whiskey that you’ll spend an afternoon sipping.  Just a nice glass here and there for something interesting and somewhat different.

Other, better reviews:

Official tasting notes

Stogie Guys

Whisk(e)y Apostle

$25

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10 comments on “Whiskey Review – 1792 Ridgemont Reserve and Eagle Rare

  1. Ryan says:

    Nice reviews! I can commiserate with your photography problems 😉

    It’s been a while since I had it, but I remember being a big fan of 1792. I am drinking Eagle Rare now, actually (not literally now as in 11:48 am, but “now”), and I also get that “green” note on the nose. If you really like sweet, and don’t mind spending a bit more money, try Baker’s bourbon. That’s as sweet and rich as they come, and utterly delicious!

    • Hey Ryan! I hadn’t seen your new blog until now. Glad to see you are sticking to reviewing. I’ll be looking to it as a resource for bourbons going forward.

      I’ll have to try Bakers. It is one of the multiple “B” Bourbons on my to-try list (including Blanton’s, Bulleit, and Booker) (I’ve already had Buffalo Trace and Basil Hayden’s – love the first, lukewarm on the second).

      Thanks for the comment.

      • Ryan says:

        I apologize if you know this stuff already, but based on these two bourbon reviews and your comments, I’d say you might not want to put Blanton’s and Bulleit too high on your list (and Booker’s is a beast, but that’s easy to guess from the proof). Blanton’s is a Buffalo Trace product, but it’s the higher-rye mash than BT and ER, which makes it a bit more “dry” – it’s not a big sweet bourbon. Bulleit is a very high rye bourbon. 1792 and Basil Hayden’s are both high-rye bourbons.

        A couple medium-rye bourbons with sweetness to try might be Baker’s, Elijah Craig 12, or Evan Williams single barrel.

      • Are you kidding? I clearly know next to nothing about … anything.

        Great comment, and one that I will heed. Indeed I am a fan of the Evan Williams single barrel (as well as BT, ER and the like). Elijah Craig is on the list as well, so maybe that will be next.

        Well, actually, what will be next is the Four Roses yellow label currently under the cabinet. Have you had that yet?

  2. Ryan says:

    Don’t feel bad – that stuff is not common knowledge – it’s real whiskey-nerd stuff 😛

    Elijah Craig is a good place to go next. Great value at just over $20, it’s really good stuff. It’s definitely better than BT, probably better than ER too.

    I haven’t had any of the Four Roses expressions yet, though I bought a bottle of single barrel that I’ll get to eventually. Yellow Label isn’t available in PA. Four Roses has a wide range of bourbon mashes that they age and then blend together for Yellow Label.

  3. Florin says:

    Hey WW, nice reviews, and good to see you are back! I had the 1792 a couple months ago. I also gave it a B- and noticed the lack of sweetness. the same way that you did — not bad in itself, but for my taste I need the sweet in a bourbon. I had the ER10 a couple years ago, and it didn’t do much for me (I found the flavors drowned by the wood) — nor did the EW and EC, so maybe our tastes aren’t that similar after all. Not that you asked!

    I’ve opened a delicious WT Rare Breed this week-end, very balanced, deep vibrant flavors, with sandalwood, burnt sugar, spices and gentlemen’s club. I recommend it if you come across it. Also, any Willett single barrel, rye or bourbon, is a joy. Booker is nice but don’t expect too much – the only Jim Beam whisky I like is the Black, and I went through their entire small batch range. They all have a slight bitter rye note that is out of balance, like a bitter eggplant, or licking an iron nail. Judging from your sensitive nose & buds you’d surely spot that.

  4. “Sensitive nose & buds?” Flattery will get you … everywhere around here!

    Seriously, though, I agree that the wood in ER10 is laaaarge. Not entirely pleasant for me, but not unpleasant either. It is why I noted that this isn’t a whiskey that I’ll sit around sipping, but rather a “now and then” type.

    I’ll definitely note the Wild Turkey and Willett recommendations. As to the Beam family, I’ve always been fairly fond of the white label, and I do like the black label. Like I say, though, I was not a fan of Basil Hayden’s, and Knob Creek has always left something to be desired (especially considering the way that some people rave about it).

    • Florin says:

      Easy cowboy, buy me a drink first! Seriously though — then maybe hold off on Booker for a while. I even had the heralded new single barrel Knob Creek and was not moved, the off-putting family signature was there. As for the Four Roses, I haven’t had the Yellow Label, but the Single Barrel I tried is one of my all-time favorites, which bodes well for your kitchen cabinet bottle. (The SB may differ from barrel to barrel since they use 10 different recipes — but only one master distiller!) Among other favorite bourbons of mine, for all it’s worth: Old Forester Birthday Bourbon 2010, Rock Hill Farms, Rowan’s Creek, Very Old Barton BiB.
      BTW, I think that the “sit around sipping” is the real test of how good a whisky is. I can respect the hell out of a bottle, but if I don’t want to pour myself one, then what’s the point?

  5. Chuck says:

    Being a fan of large amounts of Oak in my bourbons, I am a huge fan of the ER10 even bigger fan of ER17, which is much more than just an older version of ER10, its a world apart from it. One of the commenters waved you off of Blanton’s, different tastes are different tastes, but I didn’t really agree with the thought that Blanton’s lacked the sweet flavors of most bourbons. Now Blanton’s is a single barrel bourbon, so the expressions can vary a bit, but the most overwhelming notes that I found in my review ( http://whiskeyworldtour.com/2012/01/08/blantons-single-barrel-straight-kentucky-bourbon-rating-94-100/ ) was Apple Cinnamon, and Caramel. Also, the fact that it is a Buffalo Trace product means very little in the days where big companies like Buffalo Trace have many different distilleries at their disposal. Blanton’s bourbon is distilled, barelled and warehoused exactly the same way that it was when it was an independent distillery so it is unphased by the larger company buying them out. I just realized I was raving about Blantons and its not even one of the whiskeys you’ve reviewed here. 🙂 Great review as always, I guess I just really love Blanton’s and think that anyone who loves bourbon will likely love it as well 🙂 Keep it up.

    Slainte,
    Chuck

    http://www.whiskeyworldtour.com
    A journey around the world. One dram at a time.

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