The sample for this review was graciously provided by @Nozinan
Blanton’s Gold 51.5% ABV, Warehouse H, Rick 29, Barrel 328, Bottled 9/19/2014, Opened July 2016, 2/3 full when sample bottled April 18/2018
I've never had a Blanton's offering before. They're pretty expensive in Ontario, (the cheapest one is about $70 here), well above my "need to try before I buy" line. I believe the Gold Edition is a travel retail exclusive, so it's unlikely I'll get a chance to buy one anytime soon. But that's what makes trading samples such a fun experience.
- Nose(undiluted): a big hit of cinnamon and red apples, a bit of wood varnish, fresh tobacco, oak, cloves, vanilla, a little brown sugar.
- Palate(undiluted): a bit on the thin side with some waxiness, not at all hot for 103 Proof, toffee, nutmeg, rye bread, allspice. Pleasant, but not outstanding.
- Finish: fresh, juicy red apples, rye spices, then cinnamon, a touch of vegetal mustiness lingers. The last note is a bit out of place, and while it doesn't dominate, it is distracting.
With water the rye really dominates the nose and the red apple is subdued. Curiously, the bourbon feels richer and thicker with water added, but the rye spices (nutmeg in particular) seem to dominate again on the palate. On the finish, the tart, juicy apples come back, but they’re followed by some sweet caramel and coconut flavours. Water seems to dissipate the musty vegetal note. Huzzah !! It’s hard to tell if the effect is from water or simply resting time in the glass. But I definitely preferred this one with a few drops of water.
Blanton's Gold reminds me a bit of blues music; there aren't a whole lot of surprises, not a ton of different notes, but still very pleasing. I would buy a bottle of Blanton's Gold, if the price was right.
Without water, I'd have scored this 86 or 87, but with water it's a solid 88 from me.
In the US Blanton's Gold appears to be sort of a boot-leg product which a few dealers acquire from abroad, or from some other circuitous route. Wine-searcher.com reports the average US price for Blanton's Gold to be $ 224 USD, and very few vendors ever have any to sell.
A $ 70 CAN LCBO price for Blanton's Gold is a huge bargain, and much below the current average US price of 84 USD for Blanton's Original, which is the lower proof 46.5% ABV standard US release version.
@Victor I’ve never seen Blanton’s Gold in Ontario, though that doesn’t mean it’s never available. A quick check of my LCBO app tells me Blanton's Single Barrel Special Reserve (80 Proof) is $65 and Blanton's Original (93 Proof) is $70. I have no interest in an 80 Proof bourbon and $70 for any whisk(e)y I haven’t tried is too much for me. At over $200, I would not buy Blanton’s Gold. It’s good, but not that good (to my taste buds).