1792 Full Proof: A Short Case Study

Howdy folks, t8ke here. As you know by this point, I like to wrap up series with a word or two. Even though this series was a bit shorter than the last couple mega series I’ve done this year (Knob Creek RodeoCraft Whiskey Crackdown ), I still felt it was worth it to see how the series went and get, and give, some feedback.

Overall, I tried 6 different Full Proof single barrel selections done by various stores and groups. If you’ve been sleeping, 1792 Full Proof is typically a batched bourbon, that is touted as full proof. Every batch, and single barrel, is released at precisely 62.5% ABV (125 Proof), although it carries no age statement. They release at a general price point between $38 – $50 from what I have seen, although your experience may differ based on store and region. This release piqued my interest after the Knob Creek Rodeo for two reasons:

  • I always sort of thought of Knob Creek Single Barrels as sub-par, but priced fairly
  • At the end, I was shocked at the depth and diversity between picks, and their high value

I began to wonder if this was potentially the same case with Full Proof as well and set out to gather up some picks and give them a go. You’ll notice that this is significantly smaller scale than the Rodeo, and I think that is okay. I will definitely be procuring and tasting more in the future given what I’ve learned in this series (spoiler, oops) so this won’t be the last Full Proof coverage you’ll see.

These were the 1792 Full Proof Selections that I tasted through:

That’s not a terrible distribution overall. I didn’t really know what to expect, but I was impressed that I enjoyed two of these as much as I did. Weirdly enough, it was a generous split all the way up the ladder in Rank 5, Rank 6 and Rank 7. Shockingly, the 5 was the loner rank, in that it was all by itself, followed by three 6’s and two 7’s. That’s not bad at all, and it’s captured a lot of interest for me.

The Pros

Overall, one of the things I enjoyed most about a lot of these picks was the diversity in their flavors. I’m having a hard time even calling it the “Full Proof Profile” because a lot of these were different, and unique, and then the next pick came along and brought a completely different experience to the table. To me, that’s not really an issue. Overall, a lot of the notes weren’t surprising: lots of oak, generally some caramel / vanilla / toffee, as well as pepper and tobacco. I found most of the straying in the profile to head into the fruit section of the spectrum which had some wild outcomes. One, most notably the Miami Bourbon Society selection, was so much like a strawberries and cream candy that I just couldn’t believe it. That’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I can think of so few bourbons that were that striking, it really grasped my curiosity. Much like Stagg Jr and some early ECBP batches are well known for that big, ripe, cherry note, I noticed a lot of softer fruits in these selections. Apples, pears, peaches, strawberry, raspberry. All really interesting stuff. I’m not sure if maybe this is yeast based, or rather it’s tied to their cuts at distillation, but interesting.

The Cons

In the selections that ranked lowest, my one biggest complaint was the heat. 62.5% ABV is certainly nothing to sneeze at, and is the definition of high proof (at least to me). Some drank very mild but some were searing. I get that 1792 probably assumes the lions share of Full Proof drinkers won’t attack these neat, and I wish I had enough stock to attempt some cocktails with each, but for this series, it didn’t make a lot of sense. Even in the lowest ranking sample, a well regarded 5, my biggest complaint was just that it was too hot, with some faint bitterness.

Overall

I learned a lot, even with just 6 samples here. I don’t think my sample size was nearly large enough to make a big, conclusive statement like I was able to after the Knob Creek Rodeo, but I can say, without doubt, that 1792 Full Proof has my interest. At this moment, I’m seriously considering making it the focus of a major 2019 series, where I try and tackle 12-36 samples of different barrels from different groups and store that make selections. I have no doubt I’ll find some that aren’t as good as these samples and….who know…I might find some that are better. Anything is possible. What I know for now, though, is that Full Proof is delivering a potent bundle of flavors for not a lot of dollars, and in today’s bourbon landscape, that’s already a pretty good start. Thanks for reading along folks. Let me know what you think. Would a big Full Proof series next year be of interest? Would something else be more interesting? Let me know, I’m all ears.

Thanks for reading!

–t8ke

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