By Father John Rayls
Two Stars Kentucky Straight Bourbon seems like an unfortunate name. However, it is apparently named after the flag of Louisville, Kentucky. It comes
from the Barton Distillery which I deeply appreciate. It is a Sazerac in-house bourbon. It’s actually better than its name implies. It is a Kentucky Straight Bourbon (NAS) but the label makes it at least two years old. It is an interesting bourbon which is probably best at mixing in cocktails. Barton Distillery, also known as the Tom Moore Distillery, is a historic landmark in Bardstown, Kentucky. The Barton name was apparently made up and may have actually been drawn out of a hat. It has operated in the background for much of its existence producing spirits for worldwide consumption. It wasn’t until the introduction of Barton’s 1792 Bourbon that the distillery finally started getting the recognition it deserved. Although it continues to produce bourbon for consumption primarily within the border of the state of Kentucky, a new era has begun for this distillery. In 2009 Sazerac purchased Barton’s and continues to exploit its history and expand its offerings. Clear Springs Distilling Co is the distillery listed on the bottle, but it is simply the name used by Sazerac to produce their in-house brands. Two Stars Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey appears to be distilled, aged and bottled by Barton’s. It is an NAS bourbon, but the unofficial claim is that it has a minimum of 4 years aging and is bottled at 86 proof.
It is a rich looking medium to dark reddish brown color in the bottle. The color is somewhat lighter in the glass with polished brass and gold highlights. The legs appear immediately and are thinner in appearance. The nose is light to medium with no alcohol burn. It’s filled with aromas of oak and new leather with light caramel, vanilla and just a faint touch of cinnamon honey.
The mouthfeel is lightly creamy. The experience begins at mid-mouth with light caramel on the palette and is accompanied by a light spiciness with cinnamon and cloves. The warm medium finish quickly appears and remains fairly steady with a light spiciness and firm presence of oak from the back of the mouth up to the sides of the tongue and even onto the lips. This is not a great bourbon, but it is good bourbon worthy of a try as an easy sipping whiskey. Newbies will find it as a great intro into all things bourbon, but with enough content to interest bourbon enthusiasts as well. It will also demonstrate itself as a real contender used as a mixer for cocktails.
Two Stars Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is better than its name implies. Thankfully! However, its pricing should put it on everyone’s list at least once. When searching for the hidden “sleeper” on the bottom shelf, you never know what you’re going to find. Currently priced at well under $20.00, puts it well within reach of all those interested in saving money and enjoying bourbon. As you know, those two don’t always go together.