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I received this bottle of 1792 Ridgemont Reserve Barrel Select as a holiday gift. The bottle is distinctively classy and one that I've seen many times before but had never gotten around to trying. This is mostly due to the fact that I've read some lackluster reviews before and didn't wish to drop the cash on it. Thus, receiving it as a gift was a nice opportunity.
My first experience with this bourbon was not satisfying. The nose was outstanding, with leather notes, hints of sweet floral, and spicy cinnamon. Lovely. However, on the palate it was incredibly hot, full of alcohol burn, and finished in bitterness. At 93.7 proof, I tried adding some water. It did not help. I was worried that I had finally found a bourbon I really did not like.
But, I gave it a few weeks after having been first opened and decided to give it another go tonight. What a difference that time has made. I suspect the oxygen exposure after the initial bottle opening and through my periodic bottle nosings has allowed it to open up a bit. The nose is still outstanding. It reminds me somewhat of one of my favorite bourbon nosing experiences thus far -- Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage 2000.
The nose is complex, with cinnamon spice, leather and floral notes, and even a bit of some citrus in the background. And, on the palate and finish, this bourbon was thoroughly enjoyable tonight. (Good thing I didn't write the review upon first tasting. I've learned that's never a good idea. Give it some time.)
I did add a little bit of water and think that helps bring out a broader range of nosing and flavor notes. The palate does still have some bitterness to it, but it's also spicy, oily, and leathery. It reminds me a bit of a rugged version of Four Roses Single Barrel. It leaves a wonderfully spicy/sweet aftertaste long after you've swallowed.
In all, I am finding that I enjoy this bourbon more as time goes on and am looking forward to future tastings. In short, it seems like a challenging bourbon, but it is definitely worth a try (or two) before rendering your final judgment.