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Blanton's Special Reserve

Single Barrel Bourbon 101

0 584

@dbkReview by @dbk

2nd Jun 2011


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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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.

Related Blanton's reviews


Pudge72 commented

I detect a note of longing for another Elmer T. Lee bottle @dbk, after your review of the "fully finished" bottle last month. :)

9 years ago 0

dbk commented

What can I say, @Pudge72? I'm smitten with Buffalo Trace Mash Bill #2!

9 years ago 0

Victor commented

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.

9 years ago 0

coenleeuwen commented

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

8 years ago 0

Victor commented

@coenleeuwen, the Blanton's I really want to try is the uncut/unfiltered at 65+% ABV. Do you have that one there?. I have never seen it for sale in the US.

8 years ago 0

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