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Blanton's Special Reserve

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Blanton's Special Reserve

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Blanton's Special Reserve

what a disappointment this bourbon is, after reading so many positive reviews and hearing many good things about blantons, i have to say that i am extremely let down. even with out the hype it still completely lacks the characteristics of a good bourbon. i do understand that blantons is a single barrel bourbon and so the quality does vary between batches and bottlings. i own a bottle from the 327 barrel. i found this whisky to be overly harsh and quite young, it also seems to be a case of bottling by nose rather than taste. another reason for my extreme disappointment came after the initial sip. one redeeming quality of the drink is the nose, but unfortunately the palate is almost completely different. Bottled at only 40% you would think its higher with the strong, almost toxic burn that comes over you in the finish. it really is a shame the palate is not more like the nose.

the nose is sweet, with hints of toffee, vanilla, banana, dried fruits and slight cinnamon sugar. it is quite a strong, robust nose and the immaturity can be detected by the overwhelming aromas and slight alcoholic tang. after a while hints of spicy oak and sawdust begin to emerge. there are also some slight coffee and chocolate notes that lay subtly in the background. water helps to open it up further and break through the spiciness to release a more in depth array of flavours. overall the nose is very sweet and enjoyable, it is heavy and strong and acts very much like a bourbon of high quality.

the palate is a completely different story, the very first flavours are sweet but they almost instantly turn into a peppery - spice explosion. the body of this whisky is thin and immature, the spice is amplified by the burn of the spirit and it quickly evolves into a terrible tasting drink. Through much perseverance i detected notes of tobacco, roasted toffee and black peppercorn.

the finish is quite possibly one of the worst i have ever experienced, i have tasted and enjoyed some of the peatiest whisky's on offer but non pack a punch as strong as this. the finish is not quite raw but it is overwhelmingly strong, the pepper and spice evolve into a anise and tobacco mix that leaves the tongue numb and the throat raw. after a glass of this i finished a bottle of water and then attempted to repair my throat with the sweetness of a highland but that was futile. blantons honestly destroyed my taste buds and i really cant think of a worse experience i've ever had with a whisky.

i hate to waste money or whisky so over the past few weeks i have been trying to find the positive in this bottle and so ive waited till now to write this review but not much has changed. there are indeed some pleasant aromas and flavours that are in this bourbon but they are just overpowered by spiciness and hotness that really makes this unbearable. the immaturity and spirity burn that accompanies this only makes it worse, maybe another 2 years would help to mellow out the peppercorn and balance with the sweetness more effectively.

on a side note, after only 3 weeks of use the cork seems to be disintegrating and there are a few pieces floating around in the bottle. though the bottle design itself is quite attractive and makes a great desk piece. this is definitely something ill be offloading to unsuspecting friends.

Your review sounded like what I might have written after the first 5 or 6 times I tasted Blanton's.

I didn't like Blanton's for years. I would not likely have recommended Blanton's as an early bourbon in your exploration, and I would NEVER have recommended to you to buy 40% abv bourbon.

I would not consider Blanton's to usually be a good beginner's bourbon. I don't think Blanton's is a good first, second, or third bourbon for people used to malts and unused to bourbon. There are some intensities in many barrels of Blanton's that take getting used to, and which might not be liked at all for a long long time. I think that people who usually like Jack Daniels products can easily like Blanton's, but I have not been one of those either.

I did eventually have some experiences which greatly changed my attitude toward Blanton's, YEARS AND A HUGE AMOUNT OF EXPERIENCE LATER. There is no need to push it, of course. Maybe someday you'll grow to like Blanton's, maybe not. It doesn't help that every single bottle of whiskey bought in Australia is a major financial investment. Certainly, once burned, twice shy...about ever wanting any of that same #@%! whiskey again. I would never have bought myself a bottle, but I was gifted one, years later. I thought, "Great, just about the only bourbon I don't like." But it turned out to be a great bottle, much to my surprise. (of the 46.5% abv Blanton's Original)

You will do well getting better advise on your bourbons. Try some Eagle Rare 10 yo if you haven't already. And for God's sake, don't buy bourbon under 45% abv, even in Australia, where weak whisk(e)y seems to be a national mandate.


Golden orange appearance. Toasted coconut, apple, caramel aroma. Slightly sweet, toffee, vanilla, light apple, woody flavor. Not overly flavorful but pretty good.


So I recently came across a bourbon called Blanton's Special Reserve in my local bottle shop that I'd never seen before. I checked my whisky bible and checked my ever trusty friend Connosr to see what others thought of it and saw that it had gotten some good reviews. So I decided to give it a try. I'm REALLY glad I did!

The nose, like all good bourbons is quite sweet with hints of honey, vanilla, some spicy oak and oddly enough red vine licorice. (Is this just me or are more bourbons having that nose and flavor in them lately!?) I got to be honest I'm REALLY loving and digging on the red licorice on the nose!

Time to taste!!

Sweet and spicy!! Vanilla and oak are in my mouth, but what's really jumping up and down on my taste buds is that lovely red licorice!! This lovely red licorice is something I've only encountered in bourbons in Australia and mind you it could be that my palate is improving or it could be that the Aussies are stealing alot of my fun and sweet bourbons! If they are it's time for war because this bourbon is AWESOME!! And a steal at $45 bucks!

The finish is long with quite abit of spice and a little lingering sweetness running through it.

A good bourbon shouldn't break your bank to buy it and the nice thing is Blanton's Special Reserve doesn't. It's not the best bourbon in the world, but it would likely be a bourbon that I would be happy to introduce a whisky beginner to!

Let The Races Begin!!!

@SquidgyAsh a good review.

I tried this one yesterday, I rather liked it. Good price point considering the price of things around here.


I hesitated for quite some time before buying this Blanton's Special Reserve. Mainly because there wasn't much in the way of reviews here. But I am sure glad I did.

I started my whisky journey via the Single malt route, but am now branching out to bourbon.

My first bottle was Makers Mark.... that was ok. But I felt that it didn't really scratch my bourbon "itch" so to speak. It was nice, I liked it but didn't blow me away.

My next bottle was Elijah Craig 12. Big improvement over Makers Mark in my quest for a nice bourbon without blowing my budget.

Finally I chanced upon this Blanton's and it quickly became my favourite.

I love the way the sweetness fades into a gently spicy note in the mouth. I love the syrupy coating it leaves my tongue as it goes down. I love the soothing warmth i get which is partnered with oaky, vanilla and cherry notes.... delicious.

The only bummer for me is that here in Australia, it costs around $45 for a 700ml bottle.


Blanton’s was the first brand of single barrel bourbon ever released. Produced at the Buffalo Trace distillery and originally developed by the great Elmer T. Lee (whose eponymous line of single barrel bourbon shares the same high rye mash bill: connosr.com/whiskey/american/…), Blanton’s comes in several expressions, including Original Single Barrel, Silver Edition, Gold Edition, Straight From The Barrel, and Special Reserve.

Unlike the other expressions, Blanton’s Special Reserve is made exclusively for the foreign market. Billed as an introduction to the Blanton’s line—“ideal for those new to single barrel bourbons” (whatever that means)—it is bottled in the unique Blanton’s style, complete with a wax-dipped, metal horse-and-jockey stopper, but at only 40% ABV.

The nose is thick and sweet, with notes of sarsaparilla, oak, and spiced oatmeal. Hints of banana, honey, and bubble gum provide an added touch of character.

The palate is also sweet, amazingly smooth, and a little nutty. Oatmeal comes to the fore, sarsaparilla makes a welcome reappearance, and a small measure of rye spice joins the show. The sweetness lingers for some time.

In all, Blanton’s Special Reserve is understated, but absolutely enjoyable. Given its low proof, it has a surprisingly full body, and strikes me as a good complement to a bottle of Elmer T. Lee.

I would love to do a side by side tasting of all of these Blanton's Expressions. So far I have sampled Blanton's on four occasions, but I think all of the samples were of the Original Single Barrel expression. Two of those I liked OK, two less than ok. None made me want to go out and buy a bottle. I would especially love to try the Blanton's Straight from the Barrel version. I don't think that I have ever even seen it offered for sale in a store, though. That might justify a Kentucky trip.

@Victor here in holland, about 3 or 4 km from my house it is for sale at about 42 euros.

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