Blanton’s – Single Barrel – Straight Bourbon Whiskey – Warehouse H – Rick #26 – Barrel #380 – Bottle #156 – Dumped 11-24-14 | 46.5% (93 Proof) $43.99 Costco
Color/Appearance: Brownish amber. This bottle represents the first modern, widely distributed, single barrel bourbon. It was created by Elmer T. Lee in 1984 at the Buffalo Trace Distillery. Blanton’s is made with Buffalo Trace’s mash bill #2, which is a high rye mash bill. It comes in an iconic glass grenade bottle with hand written barrel information and a horse sculpture stopper. Each bottle’s stopper has one of eight letters on it spelling out Blanton’s, and each letter has a different sculpture of a horse running a race. It also comes in a nice box with the bottle snugly safe in a little brown felt bag with gold draw strings. It is pretty much a perfect bottle and overall packaging set up. A good amount of thought went into this product and it shows. I love all the barrel info and it’s overall presentation does make for a nice gift. But lets look deeper and see what is inside this classy package.
Nose: Maraschino cherries, cantaloupe, maple syrup, peanuts, bananas, and a slight astringency like aspirin. The nose easily reads like a Buffalo Trace product, which for me is a good thing. Their traditional bourbon flavors with fruity overtones is a great profile to have. But it has some unusual esters that take it a little outside my preferred comfort zone.
Palate: More peanuts with cherry syrup, and just massive cinnamon. The nose is translating directly to the palate here. Sweetly charred corn, nutty and pleasing but with a waxy sensation that reminds me of a similar note I found in Old Forester Birthday bourbon. It has a very strong barrel background that keeps the sweetness in check. Or is it the other way around with the sweetness keeping the strong oak in check?
Finish: Sweet and rich fade out with some oak planks freshly cured. Medium to short finish. Barrel char and sweet toffee rounds things out nicely. A slightly off note that I can’t quite place keep me guessing. Somehow I kind of like that.
Overall: Lots of great bourbon flavors. Maybe too much. It has a little too much of everything. Bountiful sweetness, lots of fruit, backed with punchy oak. But it feels like its trying too hard. I like the components but together its a little like a cacophony. I am only analyzing one single barrel here and I hope to try a few others to get a more complete picture of the Blanton’s line. Speaking of the Blanton’s line, I am left wondering why we can’t get the highly regarded Blanton’s Straight From the Barrel here in the states. If you didn’t notice, we are a little crazy over here for quality barrel proof bourbons and it would sell extremely well. I am certainly in the market for one of those and as soon as I can find one with reasonable shipping I will pull the trigger. Though I imagine those Straight From the Barrel bottles only come from the best casks and supplies are probably so low that if it made it to the States it would just be another bourbon I can’t find. Back to the normal Blanton’s. Overall it is a quality bourbon that seems a little higher priced than I would like, but somehow in todays bourbon market that still is kind of a deal. Strange times.