Kirkland Small Batch Bourbon – Barton 1792

So I didn’t like my last Kirkland (aka Costco) Small Batch Bourbon, because it was really just Jim Beam. On my last trip to Costco, I noticed this newcomer to the shelf, which was proudly labelled “by Barton 1792 Master Distillers”. Ok, I thought, at least it’s not Beam. I bought a bottle.

Just like Very Old Barton and 1792, this Kentucky Straight bourbon was distilled at the Barton 1792 distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky. It’s a small batch bourbon without an age statement (so, minimum 4 years old) bottled at 46% ABV. My bottle says “Batch 1124” and cost only $19 for a 1-liter bottle.

Note that Kirkland is also selling Bottled-in-Bond and Single Barrel versions of this Barton bourbon, but I only saw the Small Batch at my location.

Nose: Cherry-laden, like sticky cherry pie filling. Negligible nose tickle. A touch of tutti frutti or fruit punch. Some nice caramel and a little oak… basic but pleasant.

Palate: Thin body. Mild to moderate tongue burn, appropriate for this proof. Again the first impression is of fruit punch with cherries, corn bread, and circus peanuts (banana-flavored candy) to follow. Very consistent with the aroma, which is to say it’s still basic but pleasant, with no off or bitter flavors. Only a touch of charcoal.

Finish: Medium length. A little drying oak tannin comes in, along with a bit of charcoal bitterness. The cherry lingers, though, providing a nice balance though the finish, which fades without evolving.

With Water: Several drops of water have little effect on the aroma, but sweeten the flavors on the palate slightly. Water doesn’t hurt, here, but also doesn’t make much difference.

Overall: A structurally sound, if basic bourbon. There are few of the heavy oak / sweet corn notes that one associates with classic bourbon. Still, there’s nothing wrong with a lighter bourbon especially if the goal is cocktails. The price is spot-on, so while you won’t be wowed, you could hardly be disappointed for $20 a liter.

I marked it “Recommended” because it’s essentially Very Old Barton at 46% for a very reasonable price on the West Coast. If you have access to “real” VOB, just buy as many bottles of the BIB (bottled-in-bond) as you can, and ignore Costco.

Kirkland Small Batch Bourbon – Barton 1792
46% ABV
ScotchNoob™ Mark:
Price Range: $19
Acquired: (1 L bottle) Costco, San Jose, CA, $19.

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  • I just now knocked off my liter of the Kirkland Barton Small Batch. It’s standard Barton: thin, medicinal, unpleasant. BUT — it’s only $20. You can hardly argue with the price; Costco is practically giving the stuff away. And as with so many not-so-great whiskies, it starts to taste better after a while because you lose perspective if it’s the only thing you’re drinking. That’s how I managed to knock off the entire liter.

    That said, I chose not to buy another, even at the bargain basement price. It was an interesting experiment. Now the experiment’s done. Back to better bourbon.

  • If no age statement exists on the label then it is a minimum of four years old. If younger than four years bourbon requires an age statement. Older than four years does not.