Kentucky Tavern, Bottled-in-Bond

Maker: Barton-1792, Bardstown, Kentucky, USA2016-01-15-16.21.13.jpg.jpeg

Age: NAS (At least four years old)

Proof: 100 (50% ABV)

Price: Unknown ($12? Possibly discontinued)

Appearance: Medium copper with a thin necklace

Nose: Alcohol, toasted pecans, sage, butterscotch.

Palate: Soft and mild on the palate. Shifts to hot on the back end. Caramel, a little oak.

Finish: Warming, caramel candies, butterscotch.

Mixed: Subtle, but excellent in a Manhattan, Boulevardier, sour, Old Fashioned and with Coke and Ginger Ale. OK on the rocks.

Parting words: Kentucky Tavern is a pretty old brand, dating back to 1903. Its original parent company folded shortly thereafter and the brand was sold to brothers James and Francis P. Thompson. Their company was called Glenmore and it owned the brand for most of its history. It was made at the Glenmore distillery in Owensboro, Kentucky but may have also been made at Glenmore’s Louisville distillery which was best known as the home of Yellowstone bourbon. Kentucky Tavern was a rye-recipe bourbon then and served as Glenmore’s flagship brand. In 1991, Glenmore was purchased by Guinness and became a part of United Distillers. KT was actually a wheat bourbon during this brief period. The Louisville distillery was closed at that time and four years later Kentucky Tavern and the Owensboro distillery were sold to Barton Brands (later Constellation). The Glenmore facility was then used only as a bottling and warehousing center, as it still is today. Sazerac, owners of Buffalo Trace distillery, purchased the Barton distillery in Bardstown, the old Glenmore facility and Kentucky Tavern (among other things) in 2009. Kentucky Gentleman bourbon was begun as something of a knockoff of Kentucky Tavern, but ironically is now also owned by Sazerac and produced at Barton.

The word on the street is that Kentucky Tavern is the same mashbill as 1792 Ridgemont Reserve bourbon, which has been described as either high rye or high malt bourbon. It could actually be both, as long as it’s still 51% corn. Notoriously tight-lipped Sazerac has never released any information on the mashbill for KT or any other products produced at Barton, though.

The 80 proof Kentucky Tavern is available here and there, popping up at The Party Source, Binny’s and a few other large retailers in the Midwest and Kentucky. The bonded is much harder to find, and may actually have been discontinued, judging by how none of the retailers I consulted have it in stock. I bought this bottle at Liquor World in Bardstown, Kentucky the last time I was there. I called them earlier today and they said they did not have any in stock. Online reports of recent finds are non-existent too.

If it has been discontinued, it’s a shame because this is a very good bourbon for the money and a very good mixer. If you can find it, Kentucky Tavern Bottled in Bond is recommended.

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