From Barrel No. 349 on Rick No. 20. Dumped on 12-20-16. Stored in Warehouse H. Individually selected, filtered, and bottled by hand at 93 Proof.
A true thoroughbred of the premier whiskey world, Blanton’s claims the title of “Original Single Barrel Bourbon Whiskey.” I must admit the super fancy bottle, with hand-lettered specs and elegant racehorse stopper intimidated me for many years as I sampled other less fine looking bottles. Don’t get me wrong, as an ad man in my day job, I appreciate good marketing and great design more than anybody. I do believe you can judge a book by the cover—the good taste that selected the outside also developed the inside. But sometimes you can be fooled by machine dripped wax that replicates the touch of the artisan’s hand. I must admit to turning my nose up at Blanton’s, thinking they put too much of the value in the bottle to leave much for the bourbon. When a friend gave me this as a gift (knowing I’m also a horse racing fanatic), I was forced to put aside my preconceptions and give it a try.
The nose gives off a blast of heat right out of the bottle, settling into standard notes of brown sugar, caramel and orange. Long legs cling to the side of the glass, with a medium dark honeyed appearance. The first sip reveals a complex, full-bodied bourbon with a hint of cloves and spices, with a touch of straw and tobacco. At first it was hot on the tongue, more than I expected for the 93 proof. It mellows to reveal a bit of almond, spices, and more orangey citrus. The pleasant aftertaste lingers long, fading into a subtle honey. Blanton’s now rates as one of my favorite, readily available, special occasion whiskies. I’ll just have to find another use for the fancy bottles that are just too nice to throw away.