About – Blanton’s carries the distinction of being known as the original single barrel bourbon. From their website ” Single Barrel Bourbon started with Blanton’s in 1984. Nearing retirement, Master Distiller Elmer T. Lee was tasked with creating a bourbon of exceptionally high quality. With careful reflection, he recalled the earlier days of his career in the late 1940s when he worked under Colonel Albert B. Blanton. Colonel Blanton was the president of the distillery until 1952. Mr. Lee remembered that when Colonel Blanton would entertain dignitaries and other important guests he would handpick “honey barrels” from the center cut of Warehouse H and have that bourbon bottled one barrel at a time. As a tribute to Colonel Blanton’s old tradition, Elmer T. Lee decided to name this new bourbon Blanton’s Single Barrel. ” Blanton’s is produced by Buffalo Trace using their mashbill #2 and like many other Buffalo Trace releases can be hard to find at the moment, normal priced around $60 I have seen it priced as high as $99 recently. Blanton’s carries no age statement and is bottled at 92 proof.
Nose – Neat there is a bright unidentifiable citrus, honey covered grain, a bit of astringency (strange given the proof) and a touch of clove. On the rocks the sweetness really takes over lead by that honey soaked grain followed by vanilla, the oak finally coming through, and a hint of grapefruit.
Palate – Neat there is a citrus leaning towards grapefruit, sweet caramel, and baking spice. On the rocks the mouth feel has gotten thick and oily with caramel, vanilla, and some rye spice coming through.
Finish – Medium finish with a very pleasant cinnamon and a bit of oak tannin.
Score – B+
Verdict – Blanton’s is a single barrel bourbon, and with any single barrel bourbon your experience will vary from bottle to bottle. By no means am I saying this was a bad experience, but I have had bottles of Blanton’s that rank among my favorite bourbons of all time. Blanton’s is one of the most elegantly packaged bourbons on the market, and because of that has long been considered the premiere gifting bourbon. Normally with a price tag over $50 I would recommend trying most things at a bar before buying a bottle, but given the current market if you see Blanton’s on the shelf at a near retail price buy it.