Review: Blanton's Straight from the Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey / by Jason Hambrey

Charred Virgin Oak
~75% Corn, 15% Rye, 10% Malted Barley
Distiller Buffalo Trace (Frankfort, Kentucky)

This is a Blanton's not available in North America, but comes at a hefty price in Europe. The whiskey comes off the still at 70%, dumped into the barrels at 62.5%, and uses a 6 month seasoning (air drying) on the staves before they were put into the barrels. I love Blanton's, and a cask strength and unfiltered Blanton's is just about my favorite cask strength bourbon, dependent a little on mood...

Review (2016)

  • Batch: Barrel 566; Warehouse H (65.7%)
  • Bottling Code: N/A
  • Bottling Date: ~2014

Distinctly Blanton’s! I love it! All that dried and tinned apricot, and dried rose. Very intense in that respect, particularly at this strength. Vanilla, prunes, dense oak, dried apple, potpourri, maple fudge, and a bit of dry earth also come through. The palate is full, deep, and complex with lots of peach, grapefruit, rosehip, and dried berries. Phenomenal. All in balance, and all with terrific flavour at this strength. And a terrific, complex finish with many of those dried apricot notes, grapefruit, oak, and nut brittle. Watered down, it’s still a nice bourbon – but it rides much better at full strength. Too bad this isn’t more available, like in the North American markets…but if it were, I don’t know if anyone would get a taste…however, if I were American, I would (rightly so) feel a bit robbed.

Score: 92/100

Value: 77/100 (based on $121)

Review (2017)

  • Batch: Barrel 221; Warehouse H; Rick no. 31; Dumped 6.26.14 (64.4%)
  • Bottling Code: B1417815:49J
  • Bottling Date: 2014

A rich, full nose – slightly musty, with loads of vanilla and floral rye. Dried rose, tea, dried fruits, cacao, spearmint, raw cane sugar, and lots of clove and oak. The palate is full of tannins and the floral nature of the rye shines through. The sweetness is just about perfect to balance the spice and the proof. Raspberry tea is distinct, melding beautifully with some black tea. A nice rising spice on the jammy finish, and the finish is slightly bitter with all the oak. Dried corn comes out particularly in the finish, and it is there where we also have some of those typical dried flower notes from Blanton’s. And a bit of coconut. I just love the essence of Blanton’s here in this bottle.

Score: 91/100

Value: 70/100 (based on $121)

Review (2017)

  • Batch: Barrel 706; Warehouse H; Rick no. 44; Dumped 2.11.16 (64.4%)
  • Bottling Code: N/A
  • Bottling Date: 2016

Butter, cumin, a stale bag of mixed baking spices, dried corn, dried apricot, strawberries, and stewed stone fruit. Slightly farmy, too. A spicy, full palate, with a huge wave of sweet corn which is then completely conquered by sharp, spicy rye and some dried flowers. Dried corn, spices, and oak on the finish. Wonderful bourbon, but not quite up to the stuff I’ve had in the past from Blanton’s.

Score: 84/100

Value: 33/100 (based on $121)

Review (2017)

  • Batch: Barrel 265; Warehouse H; Rick no. 11; Dumped 4.04.16 (62.8%)
  • Bottling Code: N/A
  • Bottling Date: 2016

This goes into the barrel at 62.5%, so the proof didn’t really increase in the barrel at all – it must have been in a cool or humid part of the warehouse. Very fruity – strawberry, banana, and a bit of blackberry too – the rye comes in nicely too. Brown sugar and light oak too. The palate is sweet, and doesn’t pack a huge punch. The grains seem to sit at the forefront of this bottle – rather than the fruit. There is a bit of dense dried flowers at the end, in the Blanton’s style, which is quite nice. Some dried chanterelles and strawberries on the finish. A nice bottle…

Score: 91/100

Value: 62/100 (based on $121)