Spirits Review: Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon

by KeithP on April 15, 2011

Spirit Type: Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Spirit Name: Blanton’s – The Original Single Barrel Bourbon Whiskey (93 proof)

Additional Information: The bottle tested was dumped on 1-7-2011 from barrel number 168.  This barrel was stored in warehouse H on rick no. 27.  The recipe uses a mixture of grains including corn, rye and malted barley in a sour mash type.  It comes off the still at 140 proof and goes into the barrel at 125 proof.  The oak barrels receive a char grading of number 4 and the spirit is chill filtered.

Blanton’s bourbons are bottled as single barrel spirits; as the name would imply, individual bottles will come from a specific barrel (as noted on the label) and will not be part of any sort of blending with other barrels.  In many respects this is the truest expression of a spirit — it is what it is when it comes out of the barrel (other than filtration being applied) and it is not altered in anyway by the master distiller after aging.  You can quite literally get two “different” bourbons from two different bottles if sourced from different barrels from different parts of the warehouse (ah, what a test that would be).

Appearance: Rich mahogany brown that takes on a faint golden hue in the light.

Aroma: The aroma is relatively uniform regardless the scenario (neat, with water or over ice).  Sweet at first with subtle “forest-like” hints of wood, pine and fresh cut hay. Hiding in the background are soft coffee notes.  With water added, the smell softens a bit and rounds out certain flavors.  Still present are the pine/woody like aromas but the presence of char is here.  The water seems to heighten the sweeter aromas that fill your nose.  This is a wonderful spirit to smell.

Taste: What a gem of a spirit to sip and it lends itself equally well with a splash of water or a single ice cube.  Tasted “neat,” the Blanton’s is bold in character with the heat being first and foremost on your palate; as you sip the heat passes to reveal faint coffee like flavors and oddly (but all together interesting), a hint of toasted nuts.  Slightly chilled by ice or with a splash of cold filtered water added and this bourbon really shines.  Sweeter in a rich candy like way with a bolder sense of toasted coffee and wood; the heat is minimized in this format and blends into the surrounding flavor scenery.  The spirit has a fantastic mouth feel to it – it coats the mouth as you sip it.

Wrap-up: As I’m writing this post I’m also mentally kicking myself for letting so much time lapse between when I last had a glass of Blanton’s to now.  This is a fine spirit to have on your shelf and I would highly recommend letting it shine on its own sans being used in a drink. If you do decide to use it in a drink than do as I did recently and stay with what works … simple elegance in a glass already, the Old Fashioned is made even better using a spirit such as this.

theSpeakista’s Rating: 4 1/2 stars (out of five total)

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