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Blanton's Straight From The Barrel Bourbon Review

Blanton's Straight From The Barrel Bourbon Review

History

Blanton's Straight From The Barrel is a export only, unfiltered, and uncut Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey produced at the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, KY. Shortly after Age International was formed in 1983 the Blanton's brand was introduced and was the first to be marketed as a "Single Barrel Bourbon." Albert B. Blanton was instrumental in keeping the distillery alive throughout prohibition and numerous ownership changes. Not only was the distillery named after him prior to the acquisition by Age International but he was also responsible for hiring Elmer T. Lee. Elmer retired the following year after Blanton's was released and is credited with the jockey and racehorse stopper design.

The Blanton's brand was created at a time when the overseas market was critical in keeping the bourbon industry afloat during the glut. In 1992 Age International was sold to Takara Shuzo who immediately turned around and sold the distillery to Sazerac while maintaining ownership of the brands. Sazerac continues to produce bourbon for Age International using the Mashbill #2 as well as handling distribution within the US. Check out the Chuck Cowdery Blog for a fantastic writeup on the history of Age International including their relationship with Sazerac.

The well known Buffalo Trace Mashbill #2 is used exclusively for Age International bourbons including Blanton's, Rock Hill Farms, Ancient Age, Elmer T Lee, and Hancock Presidential Reserve. The Blanton's brand is available in a range of proofs and labels:

  • Blanton's Original Single Barrel, 93 proof (US)
  • Blanton's Straight From The Barrel, **Varies in proof (International)
  • Blanton's Special Reserve/Green Label, 80 proof (International)
  • Blanton's Gold Label, 103 proof (International)
  • Blanton's Silver, 98 proof (International)
  • Blantons Black Label, 80 proof (Japan)

However, only the Original Single Barrel Bourbon bottled at 93 proof is available in the US. The other labels are only available for retail in either international or Japanese markets. 

Details

Cost: $60 on Saint Martin in the Caribbean

Distillery: Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort, KY

Proof: 130

Age: NAS but believed to be around 8 years old.

Mashbill: 75% Corn / 15% Rye / 10% Barley (BT Mashbill #2, "High Rye")

Dumped On: 8-15-14

Barrel #: 192

Bottle #: 167

Warehouse: H

Rick #: 25

Tasting Notes

Pour: 2 oz neat in a Canadian Glencairn

Nose: This is dark and decadent - Salted caramel and chocolate fudge brownies with toasted walnuts. Layered with dark maple syrup, brown sugar, black licorice candy and an interesting root beer funk. Reminds me of eating a rich chocolate brownie with a pint of Holy City's homemade root beer. 

Palate: Medium-light viscosity which is about what I would expect from a 6 year-ish old barrel proofer. Salted caramel and brown sugar with a heap of tollhouse milk chocolate chips.  Oh, and don't forget the red hots. 

Finish: Surprisingly short but complex. There is a something medicinal that is followed by cinnamon, nutmeg, and an odd but satisfying salty/sour/savory note. The finish is capped with a pronounced and somewhat abrupt bitterness. 

Score: 3.0/5

Thoughts

This bourbon smells absolutely incredible and is such an interesting cross between dark sweets and really funky root beer. I could nose this all day long and then some. The palate is good but could use more depth and complexity and may benefit from more time in the barrel. The finish leaves a lot to be desired with the bitterness and short ride. I would really love to try this bourbon after a few more years in the barrel as well as an age statement on the label. We can all dream, right? Otherwise I really enjoyed this bourbon and am glad I went through the hassle of acquiring a few bottles. 

Blanton's SFTB can definitely hold its own against other barrel proof bourbons in the same price range - Stagg Jr, Elijah Craig Barrel Proof, Bookers, and Four Roses Single Barrel store picks. However, that being said this is not an easy bourbon to get ones hands on if you live in the US. I grabbed mine while on a trip to the Caribbean and hand carried back into the country through customs. Other options are to purchase from an international online retailer such as Masters of Malt or pay secondary prices. Is this worth the current secondary market prices? I don't think so. At $60 this is a solid bourbon but I wouldn't pay much more when there are so many other options on the shelves. Cheers.

Recommended: Bookers, Stagg Jr., Elijah Craig Barrel Proof, Four Roses Single Barrel store selects

- Mark Millonzi @ Entry Proof

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