Blanton's Special Reserve
less than impressed
fReview by @fishy1oh
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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.
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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.
8 years ago 0