Ridgemont Reserve 1792 Small Batch Bourbon is Barton Brands' entry into the boutique Bourbon product category, and it is primarily famous because of the trademark infringement suit filed by Brown-Forman, owner of the Woodford Reserve brand, against Barton alleging that Ridgewood Reserve (as Ridgemont Reserve was then called) had ripped off Woodford Reserve's name and packaging. The court agreed with Brown-Forman about the name but not the packaging, so Barton relaunched the brand as Ridgemont Reserve in mid-2004. Everything that I've read about the lawsuit seems to agree that instead of being a disaster for Barton, it actually stimulated sales of the Bourbon and helped them greatly in launching the brand. I don't know if it helped Brown-Forman with Woodford Reserve as much, but the publicity that the trial generated couldn't have hurt.
Anyway, Spec's had a pretty good price on Ridgemont Reserve, and I had read some good things about it; so I picked up a bottle. And a beautiful bottle it is, too. The thick glass bottom gives it a lot of heft, and I like the wood-topped cork. One of the reasons that Barton prevailed on the packaging component of the trademark infringement suit is that the judge thought that their bottle was most similar to a decanter while Woodford Reserve's bottle was most similar to a flask. The Bourbon in side isn't bad, either. Initially, there's cinnamon and cloves on the nose; but as it sits in the glass, it develops a dominant butterscotch aroma. The cinnamon and cloves also come through on the palatte, with some caramel and vanilla on some sips. The dominant characteristic, though, is that it has an oily mouthfeel. I don't mean that to be a pejorative description -- it just feels like you're drinking something other than water. This isn't my favorite Bourbon of all time, but I like it, especially at the price.