Blanton

Review: Blanton's Original Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey by Jason Hambrey

ABV
46.5%
Aging
Charred Virgin Oak
Recipe
~75% Corn, 15% Rye, 10% Malted Barley
Distiller Buffalo Trace (Frankfort, Kentucky)

Blanton's is aged for about 9 years, in warehouse H at Buffalo Trace the only metal cladded warehouse there. It is made from the same corn, rye, and maltmash bill as Elmer T. Lee and Ancient Age, and is a hand bottled product from a single barrel. It is one of my favorite, if not my favorite whisky bottle - with collectible bottle stoppers which each contain a letter of Blanton's. It was launched in 1984, with great success, by master distiller Elmer T. Lee as the first single barrel bourbon in modern production. 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.


Review (2016)

  • Batch: Barrel 90; Warehouse H; Rick no. 26; Dumped 10.15.13

  • Bottling Code: B1329016:52J

  • Bottling Date: 2013

Quite the nose, bursting with fresh strawberries, blueberries, and pomegranate, alongside oak and an impressive light oily quality which is well integrated within. Now we have lime zest too on the nose. On the palate, loaded with kombucha, and all sorts of tea notes - blueberry tea, raspberry tea, black tea, before resting on the fruity notes. Oily, as well, in the best sense of the word. Kombucha on the finish, with chili spice, and great complexity throughout - showing great bourbon without being a spirit smothered by corn or oak - we, perhaps, don't see this enough. A favorite bourbon of mine.

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: High, based on $65. A good barrel of this edges it into the high value category at $65.


Review (2017)

  • Batch: Barrel 327; Warehouse H; Rick no. 33; Dumped 12.31.15

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2015

A friend of mine said this was his favorite Blanton’s ever and sent me a sample. I never turn down trying more of my favorite bourbon brand!

Terrific nose, which develops beautifully too. A brilliant mix of rye, floral notes, tea, oak, corn, pomegranate, orange zest, spice cake, and corn which shines through on this one. The palate is full of spice, corn stalks, and toffee with tingly pepper. A nice finish with dried berries, corn husks, caramel, and black tea. Another terrific blanton’s.

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: High, based on $65. A good barrel of this edges it into the high value category at $65.


Review (2018)

  • Batch: Barrel 1467; Warehouse H; Rick no. 21; Dumped 2.5.18

  • Bottling Code: L18037011646J

  • Bottling Date: 2018

Fruity and spicy – dried rose, hibiscus, fennel seed, dried apricot and dried peach. Strawberry. What can I say, typical Blanton’s! It’s a bit more harsh and less rounded than most of the Blanton’s I’ve had. It’s sharp and oaky on the palate, with nice dried fruit coming in. Finish continues – dried fruit (more peach than usual), lots of rye spice, and rich sweet oak.

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average, based on $70.


Review: Blanton's Gold Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey by Jason Hambrey

ABV
51.5%
Aging
Charred Virgin Oak
Recipe
~75% Corn, 15% Rye, 10% Malted Barley
Distiller Buffalo Trace (Frankfort, Kentucky)

Another single barrel product from Buffalo Trace - this time at higher proof compared to the standard Blanton's. Otherwise, it's from the same warehouse, and, interestingly, isn't for sale in America. In Canada, it comes through, but only from time to time and for short periods. The whiskey is non-chill filtered, 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.


Review (2016)

  • Batch: Barrel 23; Warehouse H; Rick no. 4; Dumped 3.30.12

  • Bottling Code: B1209308:451

  • Bottling Date: 2012

Quiet on the nose, relative to other Blanton’s – soft oak, caramel, sweet corn, hazlenuts – with less of the dried fruit, flowers, and berries immediately than the other Blanton’s bourbons. But more sweet wood. On the palate, terrific feel, with dried apricot, tinned apricot, and a nice showing of corn with wood and spice coming through nicely on the finish. The finish is full of dried stone fruit – peaches, apricots, prunes – and a light dose of sweet wood still, and a bit more woody than the “original” bottlings that I have tried. Finishes with some strawberry jam and lovely fresh oak.

At first I thought this was less in the distinct floral/dried fruit style of other Blanton’s, but it just took a while to open up. 30 minutes in, the nose opens up brilliantly and the terrific blanton’s style shines through. This mashbill is the same as that used in the Elmer T. Lee single barrel – you can tell I’m a fan? Blanton’s may well be my favorite brand of bourbon – complex, not too much oak, and unique in a great way. This barrel, at least, seems a tad less on the nose but bigger on the palate and the finish than the last “original” barrel that I reviewed. Terrific stuff.

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average (based on $100).