I attended a tasting at the Party Source last night of Barton whiskies put on by Ken Pierce, chief chemist at Barton. In addition to some of their traditional line-up (1792 and VOB BIB), we got to try some others that have never been released to the public.
The first (and most interesting) is a four year old wheated bourbon. It was surprisingly complex for its age --- slightly sweet with subtle spice notes. It was delightfully drinkable, even at barrel proof. I'd buy this in a heartbeat. Alas, Pierce announced that it will not be distributed to the public.
The second was another four year old bourbon with higher than normal rye content. Interesting but not overwhelming. Another "experiment" that won't become a product.
The last was a seven year old straight rye. Pierce described this as a "pure rye" --- no corn and just enough malted barley added to facilitate distillation. This was deliciously spicy with subtle but noticable wood notes. Again, very easy to drink at barrel proof. Pierce reported that this is the same product as their Fleischmanns's Rye --- but with additional aging. This too won't be released. If it were, it would give Saz Jr. a run for its money.
Pierce also said:
Barton uses four different bourbon mash bills but he wouldn't reveal their content or which products they are used in.
He insisted that "none of their boubon products" will change under Sazerac's ownership. He did say that their production has increased significantly since the acquisition.
There will not be a "visitors center" at Tom Moore but they are adding a gift shop.
Sazerac will be doing some much-needed updating of their equipment and physical plant.