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Blantons Straight From The Cask

Average score from 7 reviews and 13 ratings 91

Blantons Straight From The Cask

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Blantons Straight From The Cask

It was former master distiller Elmer T Lee – who passed away in 2013 – who launched the Straight from the Barrel series in 1984, a year before his retirement. The casks for the series matured in the metal clad and thus warmer Warehouse H. Albert Blanton – one of Buffalo Trace’s first employees – built this warehouse and that is why the series is named after him. Quite a few of these single barrels appear every year, always at cask strength (well, barrel strength in this case) in the typical round bottle with the trademark tin stopper with the horse on top.

Blood oranges, candied ginger, dark chocolate with almonds and cold espresso form the heart of the nose of this Blanton. Add a truckload of caramel, a bit of parsley and some dill. This nose is – for a bourbon – quite complex.

It’s no surprise that this malt gives a kick to the teeth with the first sip, considering the ABV. Chili peppers, nutmeg and some cinnamon are the spices on duty. That is followed by liquorice candy, caramel, maple syrup and a lost date. The caramel returns, albeit in slightly burnt state as if my glass stood too close to the BBQ. It works. The second sip goes further and offers some caramelized orange peel, eucalyptus and maraschino cherries. It even turns quite candy-like with the third sip.

It’s the blood oranges that command the warm, spicy and very long finish.

This is clearly the better stuff from across the Big Pond. Thanks, Peter!

A shame this is not available in North America. I was able to try it by getting a sample from Master of Malt, and taste it H2H2H with the Original and the Gold. It was close, but this one was my favourite.


In 2016 I picked up some bottles of Blanton’s Gold that were popping in and out of stores for about a week, 2 for me and 2 for @paddockjudge (he would eventually be the recipient of my spare). My review can be found here:


Also in 2016, in a transaction that brought me a couple of other coveted bottles, my brother muled me a couple of samples of Blanton’s Straight From the Barrel that were purchased at Master of Malt.

Around the time that I got those bottles and the sample to @paddockjudge he was kind enough to provide me with a sample of the Original which would be my first taste of that expression. On September 2, 2018, at last, we did a video tasting of the Original, Gold, and SFTB.

This expression is reviewed in my usual manner, allowing it to settle after which I take my nosing and tasting notes, followed by the addition of a few drops of water, waiting, then nosing and tasting.

Nose: 22.5/25

Kraft Caramels, cherry, rich nose. Some fine ground black pepper, and butterscotch peeking through. Sweet Golden Delicious apple. A bit spirity. Feels like the hairs in my nose are being burned off.

Taste: 22.5/25

Rich, powerful sweet and hot arrival. Spicy, oaky. Lots of caramel and vanilla. Water has minimal effect on taming this. Quite delicious.

Finish: 22/25

spicy, astringent, “bourbony" (it’s the oaky, cherry note I associate with bourbon)

Balance: 22/25

This is powerful, the nose and the palate complement each other.

Score: 89/100

This is a powerful bourbon. Not A. Smith Bowman, Stagg (+/- Jr) or ECBP powerful, but rich and full-flavoured. This is apparently only readily available in Europe or the UK, and not in North America (which is strange... and sad).

Would I buy a bottle of this? Probably…if I could afford it.

If you’re interested in my review of the Original, here it is:


@Victor I have to say that like @Nozinan I associate those same cherry/oaky notes with bourbon. I don’t find them in every bourbon, but probably in about 60% of them, to varying degrees. Of course, my experience with bourbon isn’t that broad, so take my comment for what it’s worth. This bourbon sounds delightful. I may have a sample of the aforementioned Blanton’s Gold here that someone was kind enough to bestow upon me. I may need to visit it soon.

I was able to get a bottle of SFTB (700 ML UK release) a couple years ago in a trade for a Crown Royal Cask 16 (also netted me a Rock Hill Farms).

I have tried it a few times now and it is very good. I do prefer ECBP a tad more, could nose that all day.


This is review of Blanton's straight from the barrel. Barrel #262 62.8% ABV. I tasted it neat in a glencairn glass.

Nose: Earth, crème Brulee, fresh corn. It reminds me of a dish made of corn like a cornbread or creamed corn. It’s a really inviting nose that makes me hungry rather than making me want to try it. After a few minutes, it opens up to more typical bourbon notes of wood, sawdust, and spices. There is a presence of alcohol that nips at the nose, but at this abv, that's expected 30min after pouring it in the glass, a strong coffee note hits your nose along with beer mash. This is rather interesting since it’s the first time I’ve smell such a strong and unmistakable coffee note. Reminds me of a coffee stout, since it smells more of coffee grounds than fresh coffee. Taste: initially it’s rather calm on arrival, it gives off the impression that it’s smooth with not much flavor, and then it explodes. Sudden it come on very sweet, woody, and very spicy with a mellow heat. Big Bourbon in body and taste. If you hold it in your mouth past the initial explosion of flavors, it quickly fades into bitter sweet wood with a hint of mint. Once your palate becomes accustomed to the punch of the high abv, then it becomes very drinkable and enjoyable. It’s actually very balanced once it settles down. That extra bit of sweetness that’s missing from standard Blanton’s and the gold version really elevates this Bourbon from average to great. Finish: Bitter wood, earthy, slightly sweet, but dry, with some mint. 5min after swallowing it, you still taste bitter wood and earth tones. This version of Blanton’s is an improvement over most of the range. This, like the Gold version, is an overseas product only. If you’re going to pay for an overseas only version of Blanton’s, get this version instead of the Gold. I’m not saying it’s worth the price because, imo, it isn’t. Better can be had for cheaper in the states. But for an extra $25 on shipping, I think this Bourbon is a better choice than gold.

@vanPelt You paid a good price. Totally worth $70. Well, as with every Bourbon, the problem is availability. But if you can find Elmer T Lee or perhaps even E.H. Taylor SB at retail, I'd take those over Blanton's straight.

Wow, what are the odds I have the exact barrel 262. I traded for mine so I cannot comment on the cost and I would probably score it higher. I have both the ETL and E H Taylor SB(1B?) and I enjoy the Blanton's SFTB and Gold more. Actually part 2 of my trade was Rock Hill Farms which is a stable mate I believe of ETL and it tops that as well IMHO. Fair score and excellent review.


Nose: Maple syrup, caramel, cherry cola, sweet nose.. Mint, eaculyputs candy, cayenne, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves of course, took some time before I got the vanilla, lays beneath the thick sweet notes and pointy spices. Apple pie, apple juice, apple hard candy and raspberry candy. Water can make the nose more attainable and gives it a more cognac character on the nose and even more on the palate(a balanced medium sweet cognac), but I like to drink it straight.

Palate: Rich and loaded with flavour from the start, the first bourbon where I get a full flavorburst experience right after entering the mouth on the tip of tongue. Flavours translate well from nose to palate. It is never too warm, of course it gets too hot if u take a big sip and/or hold it in ure mouth to long since its 64.8%abv.. But if u adjust ure sips accordingly, its well behaved in the mouth, thick and packed with flavour, quality from start to finish. Its typical bourbon notes, just a richer experience.

Finish: In the latter development and towards the finish it reminds me of cognac, cognac spices and fruit notes lay alongside maple syrup, vanilla and butterscotch salt/sweetness. There is also some espresso spices and smoke, and a tone of raspberry bonbon lingering in the roof of mouth. Medium too long finish..

Balance: Sweet/sour, oak and spices, nothing sticks out to much and seems to be in perfect balance. Its pretty sweet on the palate, but counters that with loads of flavour and spices in the development.

This was from a freshly opened bottled I tasted at my dads house, think it was bottle 28 from 2013. I will be getting a bottle for my birthday later this year, so a more detailed review perhaps will come for that one..

@ElCocos, thanks for your nice detailed review.

Sazerac Company and Buffalo Trace distillery do not own the Blanton's brand. For whatever reason, the owners of the brand have chosen to sell Blanton's Straight from the Barrel only outside the United States. It is wonderful intense stuff, though! Try some if you get the opportunity.


I've had multiple drams from purchased samples, but I finally decided to open one of my bottles. I tried it a few times (down to half a bottle now) and have, more or less, consolidated my notes.

Nose: A little peculiar at first this time around (compared with previous pours and other barrels). More wet shaved wood and mint. In the background are toffee, butterscotch, brown sugar. There is a more traditional rye honey richness, which is top-notch. Carmel-coated popcorn and vanilla. Really improves with time in the glass. Buttery, rich, and fat. (with water) More rye grain here, honey, toffee -- generally more earthy and slightly less rich and ethereal. Amazing. And caramel.

Palate: Thick and a little warm, no surprise, with a strong sense of the usual honey, toffee, butterscotch, and sweet and candied corn. Vanilla. Really more 'yellow' sweet than 'brown.' The wood keeps it from being a run-away dessert monster, and rye spice in buried in it. (with water) Much more rye and dry, the sweetness here is secondary with darker and earthier notes in the foreground.

Finish: A little more darkness from the wood. The dry, dark, bitter chocolate. Honey, rye grain, and all the other flavors. This is like two different, but related, bourbons without and with water. The finish is excellent. The score here is more of a sense than an absolute anything.

@numen, none of your usual 'with water added' descriptions? Could it be that you didn't add any? Have you gone over to "The Dark Side" of drinking high ABV beverages without water?

I hope so, at least sometimes.

Yours is a poetic review. Thank you!

@Victor, thanks! I did do this one with water, more for the sake of comparison than anything else. In general, when I drink high ABV spirits for myself (and not with notes in mind), I don't do water at all. With or without water (still probably above 50%), this bottle, and the other drams from the series that I've had, have been spectacular and consistently superb.


from a purchased sample. Warehouse H, Rich 13, bar #3

I loved another incarnation of this expression and was curious to see how it went from bottle to bottle.

Nose: Rich rye bourbony goodness. Vanilla, rye spice, and a molasses like syrup or caramel dominates. Wood is there, but completely in check. Cherry liqueuer and apples. Cinnamon and concentrated spice rum. I may use this as an aphrodisiac. (with water) Like the Blanton's at 46.5, but much richer and more vibrant. Buttery honey and toffee, rye and rye candy. Sweet nose. Rich vanilla extract. Heaven is supposed to smell like this.

Palate: Thick and syrupy, not surprising given the nose and proof. Initial burst of wood, rye, caramel-honey, and baking spices. Much less fruit. Drop of orange liqueur and burned spice cake. Gives way somewhat to dry bourbony dark chocolate. (with water) still rich and thick. Honey, rye goodness. Lots of goodness in this one. Just a perfect amount of wood. The rye is typical of the sweet and spice. Hard to fault, so I won't.

Finish: Neat, it trends to the darker, and is a little short with water. This is fabulous neat. This is fabulous with water. Basically, if you like alcohol/bourbon/spirits, get two bottles. If you don't, get two bottles and give them to me. Consistently great expressions from this label. People should stop fighting for Pappy and the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection and should spend their time lobbying to have this available in the US. Your only regret will be that you didn't have this earlier. I may pick up a third bottle. A-/A (closer to the latter)

I'd actually start a letter-writing campaign or petition for it. It's embarrassing that a bourbon gem like this is unavailable in the US. And I'd ask people passing through Europe and Japan to pick up a bottle for me :)

In Ontario we've been able to enjoy Blanton's Original, Special Reserve, and Gold Edition; however, each time numen hints at the magnificent qualities of the cask strength it makes me wonder why we are being punished and not able to enjoy the cask strength...I'd gladly pen a letter.


Single barrel (#195)

Nose: I can really get on board with this. It smells thick. Maple syrup, almost like an extremely high quality spiced dark/navy rum. Stewed prunes and figs. Heavy, dark caramel covered apples. I'm not going to drink this. It's too amazing. (with water) More fruit comes out, and the water clarifies the deeper notes, if that makes sense. The syrup and spiced are brought into greater relief. It's top-notch. I may prefer this slightly neat, but at this point, it's splitting hairs.

Palate: Syrup, maple, wood, spice (cinnamon, cardamom, touch of anise). Unsurprisingly a little warm, but that's a-ok by me. Maybe green apple or apple skins. Just explosive and awesome stuff. Very dense. Not the easiest sipper, but the best things don't have to be. (with water) More honey and straight, obvious rye grain and sweetness. Syrup+pepper, wood, and a great kick still.

Finish: Perfectly balanced sweetness with the wood to brace it. It turns a bit to pipe tobacco juice, ashy cigars, maple syrup, and more spiced navy rum in the backyard. Dark cherries, why not? (with water) Rye, wood, sticky syrup -- no trend here -- a bit of heat and pepper. I'm not sure; I wandered into a bourbon induced hazy dream.

This is one of those rare bourbons for me that I not only love, but wish that I had bottles of. BOTTLES.

I forgot to mention here, but I only had a sample from a friend, though, now, I'm scouring the internet for a bottle somewhere. It's now one of my favorite bourbons. I have no idea why they don't sell it in the US; it'd sell like hot-cakes.

@MCM, it's a BT product bottled for a Japanese company and sold only in Japan and Europe. Sadly, it doesn't look like they're going to produce it for the US market. This is different from the Original Single Barrel, which is bottled at 46.5%.

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