After just reviewing a port-finished bourbon, I turn now to one of the (very few) other port-finished American whiskies: the newly-released 1792 Port Finish bourbon (note that the bottle label and website has dropped the “Ridgemont Reserve” and the branding seems to be focusing on the “1792” part of the name). The same bourbon that goes into 1792 Small-Batch is aged for an additional 2 years in port wine barrels, and then bottled at the odd choice of 44.45% ABV. The extra aging means a price premium, so expect to shell out an additional $10 or so. That turns the very budget-friendly 1792 into a bit of a splurge, for a bourbon.
Nose: Grape juice and grape jam, on a bed of sweet corn and caramel. Quite sweet. After a rest in the glass, a tart top note – like cranberry – creeps in.
Palate: A tad hot for ~44%. Grape Jolly Ranchers™, caramel-dipped apples, and a slightly charcoal-flecked and dry bourbon profile.
Finish: Short. Oaky, but not tannic. Echoes of sweet grape jam and semisweet chocolate. Fades quickly.
With Water: Water brings a little more nose tickle to the aroma, without revealing anything new. The palate is a little softer. I suggest adding a touch of water and then letting it rest in the glass for a few minutes to reawaken the aroma.
Overall: Not quite as supple and polished as Angel’s Envy (the only other port-finished bourbon I’ve had), but successful in its own right. It takes a semi-robust, dry bourbon and balances it nicely against a fruit-forward, juicy, sweet port. A win, and well-priced, but the port flavor disappears when used in cocktails, which means this should be relegated to sipping, or perhaps taken over ice. For cocktails, stick to the basic 1792 Small Batch.