Distiller Spotlight US
Barton 1792 Distillery
By Ethan Kelley
Nestled in the middle of Bardstown, the Barton 1792 distillery was built in 1879 and is the final gem completed by the legendary Mattingly dynasty. The partnership that brought it to life was between Ben Mattingly and another accomplished distiller, Thomas Moore. In 1874, the gentlemen got to a place where they were able to buy out (or kick out) outside investors and set out on their own, unincumbered by contracts or obligations, etching their bourbon partnership in stone.
The distillery’s history is convoluted and hazy at times, and the level of success enjoyed by other distilleries was just out of reach for Mattingly & Moore. At one point, the distillery was acquired just to help make brandy, while bourbon production was simply an additional revenue stream. Yet, one thing remained steadfast; the whiskey was fantastic. After a few corporate buyouts and modern-day business craziness, the distillery was back in action and not so focused on brandy production. They found their roots and are now owned by Sazerac. The distillery is currently known for making bourbon for several other off-market brands. While these contracts are kept secret, some of these bottles may be found at big box retailers and receive glowing recommendations from those in the know. The newest additions to the distillery lineup are the 1792 brand, including the small batch release, which should be a home bar staple, and the sweet wheat release, which is magic if you can get it. The newest brand pays homage to Thomas Moore, and each release features a unique wine cask finish.