Review: Blanton's Single Barrel Bourbon
Blanton's Single Barrel Bourbon, distilled by Sazerac Co. at Buffalo Trace Distillery and bottled at 46.5% ABV.
Price Range: $45-$60
As the story goes, Elmer T. Lee, Master Distiller at Buffalo Trace decided to create a new and innovative bottling for bourbon lovers by producing the world's first single barrel bourbon. Since 1984, the concept of single barrel spirits has been copied throughout the spirits industry and in part helped birth the "small batch" category which has dominated the growth and sales of premium spirits for the last 20 years.
The bourbon is named after Colonel Albert B. Blanton who began working at what today is the Buffalo Trace Distillery in 1897 when he was 16 years old. Blanton worked his way up the company ladder from an office boy to president of the distillery. During National Prohibition, the government gave Blanton permission to continue making whiskey for "medicinal" purposes which makes it one of oldest continuously operating distilleries in the United States.
Nose: The nose is light and fruity, reminiscent of candied apple and ripe pear. Underlying these bright top notes are deeper aromas of oak and yeasty bread.
Palate: Neat, Blanton's is very hot and screams for a dash of water. Once my tongue recovered a bit from the impact of the alcohol, the bourbon has a medium body with light sweetness, hints of vanilla and bright lemon zest.
Finish: The finish is incredibly long with that is semi-dry from the wood tannins. The flavor on the finish shows notes of coffee and an herbaceousness reminiscent of rosemary.
With Water: The sharp heat mellows with the addition of water and the initial sweetness on the tongue intensifies and then transitions to baking spices. The finish is both herbal and sweet not unlike a cough lozenge.
Conclusion: Blanton's is a fine bourbon though not completely my cup of tea. For fan's of Buffalo Trace, it is definitely worth trying but I felt the balance was off. The heat from the alcohol overshadows most of the flavors and the combination of sweet and herbal flavors are not what I usually look for in a bourbon. I imagine that Blanton's would work well in cocktails that call for sweet vermouth or for those who like to drink their bourbon on the rocks.
Thank you to Rachel for the sample.