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Elmer T Lee Single Barrel

His Master's Hand

0 1086

@dbkReview by @dbk

25th Apr 2011

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  • Taste
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  • Overall
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Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is one of the Sazerac Company’s many brands produced at their Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky. The namesake whiskey of Elmer T. Lee, Master Distiller Emeritus at Buffalo Trace, it is made from the distillery’s high rye mash bill, in the same vein as Ancient Age and Blanton’s whiskies, to name a few.

Born in 1919, Lee joined the distillery (then named the George T. Stagg Distillery) in 1949, became manager in 1968, and retired in 1985. He is reported to hand select the barrels that eventually become Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. The bottle in question found its way into my hands thanks to the kindness of one of our own local American whiskey experts here on Connosr, “Victor,” who presented me with it at a tasting in my home a few weeks ago. I’m grateful for it, and for the fine company during that evening (that means you, too, “Pudge72” and Mary Anne).

The nose is a sweet affair, with vanilla, butterscotch, banana, nutmeg, apricots, honey, and Sprite. It has something of a dusty rye undercurrent, rounding out the richness.

The palate is creamy, spicy, and bittersweet. Oak tannin and bitter rye are complemented by some sweet corn and vanilla, all subtly accompanied by baking spices like nutmeg and cinnamon. The finish begins sweetly before a balancing thread of astringency cuts through.

Although there is a higher rye content in this bourbon than in many others, the rye does not dominate the profile. Indeed, it brings a much needed balance to the otherwise candy sweetness of the spirit. Moreover, it is amazingly full bodied for a whiskey at only 45% ABV. Many lower proof whiskies—were they to have emotions—ought to feel chastened. Finally, lest I forget, a parting word for Victor: the bottle is now completely gone. Excellent choice!

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10 comments

@Pudge72
Pudge72 commented

@dbk, thanks for the 'shout out'. The tasting session really opened my eyes to a wide variety of whiskies. A bottle of the 'Binny's Handpicked' version of this bottling will be one of my purchases in the near future. Your excellent review and previous feedback have helped to solidify my decision.

8 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@dbk, the bottle is completely gone? Good lord, that is satisfying! I had a feeling that you would like it. Thanks much for the details about Elmer T. Lee that I had not yet found, and thanks again for your hospitality on April 8th. Big smiles all around!

8 years ago 0

@AboutChoice
AboutChoice commented

Hi @dbk, I have been consistently fond of Elmer T Lee. I have the Birthday Edition, and have been planning a review sometime this year (along with siblings Blantons, Rock Hill Farms and Eagle Rare). I enjoyed your review, and was pleased that you shared some morsels of info that you had discovered. And just as a side note, we should be aware, that for these bottles, we are reviewing single barrel bottles that are unique, and that we will never see again. But we would hope that they are all at least in the same ball park :)

8 years ago 0

@HP12
HP12 commented

@dbk another enjoyable and educational review. Well done.

@AboutChoice I too have a bottle of the ETL 90th B-Day Edition but have yet to crack it. Let's compare notes once we write reviews.

8 years ago 0

@AboutChoice
AboutChoice commented

Hi @HP12 ... sounds good, let me know when that special day arrives when you get into the ETL-BD !

8 years ago 0

@dbk
dbk commented

Gentlemen: apologies for the delayed response! Glad people enjoyed the review; I know I enjoyed that bourbon, as well as the occasion for receiving it! Yes, @Victor, it's all gone now. I'm sure I'll get some more in the future, though I am pleased at having "killed" yet another bottle in my cabinet.

Like everyone else around here, I'd love to hear what @AboutChoice and @HP12 have to say about their Elmer T. Lee 90th Birthday Editions when they crack them.

8 years ago 0

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge commented

@dbk Thank you for the blend of history and tasting notes.

I am anxious to sample the ETL - is the ETL 90th Bday Edition readily available? You fellas must be speaking in code by mentioning the Birthday Edition. Happy Birthday victor, and may you enjoy many more!

Cheers! pj

8 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@paddockjudge, thank you very much for the birthday greetings!@dbk, "killing bottles" is a little bit like the sorcerer's apprentice with the brooms, is it not? They reproduce at a faster rate than they can be disposed of.

8 years ago 0

@Nolinske
Nolinske commented

Excellent review! I reallly enjoyed the superb tasting notes and history lesson. I will have to pick up a bottle of this next time I see it!

6 years ago 0

@dbk
dbk commented

@Nolinske, you won't be disappointed!

6 years ago 0

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