One Buffalo Trace’s favorite offererings, Blanton’s has been a mainstay on my bar for almost 10 years. The classic “Original Single Barrel Whiskey” is always one of my favorites as you can tell from my previous review (insert review here). Recently I decided to use bottle-spot.com to get some bottles that can only be purchased overseas, including three bottles for tonight’s tasting.
Special Reserve, Green Label
Sweet candy corn nose, nice cinnamon toast, butterscotch and cloves. Only 80 proof and not too hot but misses some of the mouthfeel due to the chill filtering. Not super complex but definitely enjoyable and easy to drink. Definitely a good entry level bourbon, easy to enjoy but not a finish that keeps you entranced. Reminds me a lot of Elmer T Lee–very solid, easy drinker, always a crowd pleaser. Don’t bother adding water, just dilutes it more. 89/100
Standard Single Barrel
A classic. See review. You can never go wrong with this one. The nose is sweet upfront with vanilla, toffee, licorice, sliced almonds, roasted peanut butter but still manages to tell you that it’s a serious whiskey. The well integrated sweet nose appears on the palate as well, the warmth permeates as the oak and nutty flavors envelop my tongue. I am reminded why Blanton’s is one of those bourbons that everyone likes and is very consistent. Adding a touch of water to this one brought out a touch more sweetness. 92/100 Original Review: https://newbourbondrinker.wordpress.com/2015/07/13/blantons-oh-blantons-how-ye-never-disappoints/
Blanton’s Gold Label
First time ever trying the Gold Label and excited for the 103 proof. On the nose you can feel a bigger richness than either of the first two with more dried fruit, toasted cinnamon bread and this one had a bit more smokey flavors seeping out. The weight on the mouth is better and more enjoyable and has a little bit of grit that gives it some complexity. This finish goes on for a while and definitely deserves a gold label. Very enjoyable. Adding water does nothing for this whiskey, drink it neat. This is the one for those who want a little more than the classic Single Barrel, but aren’t quite ready for the full barrel proof experience. 93/100
Straight from the Barrel
The biggest proofed older brother of the four, this bottle clocking in at 130.6 proof. This one is by far the most enjoyable, complex and award worthy of the four. Adding a couple drops of water rounds it out a little removing some of the sharp edges, but I actually enjoy those edges so it’s a judgement call. Spicy and sweet and powerful all in one. But I’m biased towards high proof, non chill filtered bourbons like this one. I’ve heard people say they if you can’t afford BTAC to pick this one up instead. I don’t think it’s quite gets to the BTAC level, but it is a very good offering from our friends at Buffalo Trace. It’s just annoying that they don’t offer it here in the US. 94/100 Original Review: https://newbourbondrinker.wordpress.com/2016/03/30/blantons-straight-from-the-bottle/
What I think is very interesting about this tasting is that these are presumably all the same mash bill and similar aging, but because they are all single barrels and proofed differently, they all have very different characteristics. I am not surprised that I enjoyed them directly proportional to the level of proof, but I also enjoyed the lower proof ones and can whole heartedly recommend them to those who enjoy lower proof bourbons. The bottles have a lot left in them so if anyone wants to come over and visit and taste them with me, you are all invited!