Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon
As I start diving off into the world of distilled spirits, there is not better place to start then with bourbon. Bourbon is my absolute, favorite, spirit. There are so many intricacies within just one bottle. The different color, full aromas, and warming tastes that bourbon delivers. How could it not be my favorite spirit?
This bottle of Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon was given to me, as a gift for my recent engagement. I was incredibly excited, to receive such a wonderful gift. I knew, I was going to wait to open it, and review it.
I remember the first time that I drank Blanton’s. It was my junior year in college. One of my roommates was graduating, and he received a box in the mail. Inside that box, was beautiful bottle of Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon. Now being your typical college kids, we were used to drinking whiskey mixed with coke. However, we knew better than to mix this bourbon. I remember the first thing we did, we wanted to know how much this bourbon cost. We ran upstairs, and got on the computer. Headed straight to ebay, the first listing of this bottle was $300. Wow, we were amazed! We knew there was no way in hell, that we could mix this bourbon. We were going to have to “man up”, and drink this neat. Now of course, I look back and realize, that bottle was probably a special collectors edition, or something a long those lines. A bottle of this Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon only costs $60. That’s a big difference from the $300 we had seen previously.
If you have read any of my cigar reviews, then you’ll know that I’m a huge fan of packaging and looks. To me, this Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon has some of the best packaging in the world of spirits. From the top, to the bottom, this bottle is beautiful. Let’s start at the top of the bottle.
The first thing you probably notice, is the stopper in the bottle. Placed atop the stopper, is a jockey and a racing horse. Seeing as how this bourbon is from Kentucky, that’s not a big shocker. What you might not know about Blanton’s, is that they have 8 different stoppers for the “Original” Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon. Each stopper has a different letter, underneath the back leg of the horse. If you are careful with your selection, you can collect all 8, and spell out B.L.A.N.T.O.N.S. . If you lay out all 8 stoppers, you’ll notice that each horse is in a different striding position as well. This is just a small thing, that really sets Blanton’s apart from other bourbons in the market place.
As you continue down the bottle, you’ll notice the label is a rough, almost cardboard-esque type paper. Personally, I love this it gives the bourbon a rustic look to it. However, my favorite part about the label on this bottle; there are hand written notes about each particular bottle on each label. My bottle states, that it was dumped from Barrel 181, on 2-20-12. That barrel, was stored in Warehouse 13 on Rick No. 9. Now, if you’re not impressed with that, then I don’t know how to impress you. Just think about it for a minute, someone, somewhere around the world is drinking bourbon from this exact same barrel as you. If you worked diligently you might even be able to find some of those people. To me, that is very cool and very impressive, it really sets this Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon apart in the world of bourbon.
Pow, right out of the gate this Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon hits with a powerful, oaky aroma, followed by an intense alcohol smell. The aroma, makes me feel like I stepped right into the charring house of a barrel manufacturer. The second thing I noticed, was a fairly spicy aroma. I could literally feel it stinging my nostrils. Granted, I might have nosed the glass a little longer than I should have. The nose on this bourbon is fantastic, very intense, don’t say you weren’t warned!
If there is one thing I can say about Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon, it will make your mouth water. To me, that is a sign of a great bourbon. This hits all over the palate, I can pick up sweet, spicy and savory. The spice, reminds me of a slight black pepper that will tingle your tongue just enough to awaken all the taste buds. The sweetness I picked up was the traditional caramel flavor found in bourbons. All of those flavors are followed with just slightest hint of orange.
This bourbon, has one of the best finishes that I can remember. Long and well balanced, it lingers on coats your tongue with the taste of Vanilla and Honey. Having this bourbon neat really punches up the levels on everything and if you’re not used to having your bourbon neat, it could be overbearing. Let’s cut it a little with a nice round ball of ice and see if we can pick up any differences in flavor.
Reviewed on Ice
The first thing I notice, when nosing the Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon on ice. That intensity I spoke of earlier, just drops down from an 11 to about 6. The ice has really opened up this bourbon, and made it very aromatic. I can pick out even more of the oaky notes, without scorching my nostrils.
Similar to the palate above, I can pick up sweet and spicy. The spicy has taken a backseat now that the ‘heat’ has been turned down some. I pick up a lot more caramel, and overall sweetness on the palate. The way this Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon has opened up, it quite impressive. I love being able to pull out other flavors, by just adding ice to a glass. It shows, how much complexity is in this glass. So many notes, and flavors all contained in one liquid.
The finish, is shortened substantially when cut with ice. There is no long, lingering effect anymore, which is disappointing, yet it was expected. I know opening up the bourbon and cutting it with ice affects many things, I just always hope that it can make the finish longer than it was before. However, the finish is still incredibly smooth and balanced. Sharpened notes of vanilla really come out on the finish more so than, when the bourbon is neat.
Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon: 10/10
This is by far one of the best bourbons available on the market. Between the packaging, the flavor, and the price. Its very difficult to find a bourbon that will stand next to this one and call itself better. Blanton’s has done everything right with this product. They don’t rush it, they age it to perfection and that’s what they get out of the barrels.