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felthove
12-20-2007, 21:32
I am a newbie here and admittedly new to bourbon hyperbole but as of late I've tried a dozen or so of the highly regarded bourbons discussed on this site. The one bourbon I purchased recently that didn't match all the reviews and profiles I read was the Elmer T. Lee single barrel. My bottle has a very pronounced ash/graphite/charcoal/char flavor to it on the finish that is very distracting. Given that this is single barrel stuff I'm wondering if anyone else has noticed this in the recent bottlings. I was really happy to find this product in my local store after what I had read but I have to say relative to all the other bourbons I've acquired it really has a strong and somewhat unpleasant finish. Is this normal?

ratcheer
12-21-2007, 05:01
No, it doesn't sound normal to me. My only bottle was purchased on a long trip to Kentucky in 2005 (I cannot get it at home), so I have no experience with recent bottlings. But it is one of my top favorites, there is nothing odd about it at all.

Tim

gr8erdane
12-21-2007, 05:23
Please don't feel discouraged as we have all come across bottles we have been disappointed in at one time or another. Give that ETL some time and it might straighten itself out. Try letting it breathe a while with the cork out. I've found that a lot of the bottles that I felt were off flavored were helped by doing just that.

dcb
12-21-2007, 09:24
I've got a bottle of this on special order at my local shop, hope it arrives soon, it's one I haven't had before.

Sijan
12-21-2007, 11:12
Assuming you're talking about char notes that are greater than that normally found in bourbon, I haven't ever experienced that with ETL, so I can assure you it's not normal. (However, I've not had really recent bottlings.) May improve some with some oxygen exposure. Try pouring some and letting it sit out for a half hour to an hour before you drink it and see what difference that makes.

However, I have occasionally experienced some off bottlings of highly praised whiskies - including W.L. Weller 12 year old and A.H. Hirsch 16 year old - so I know where you're coming from.

jburlowski
12-21-2007, 13:10
Please don't feel discouraged as we have all come across bottles we have been disappointed in at one time or another. Give that ETL some time and it might straighten itself out. Try letting it breathe a while with the cork out. I've found that a lot of the bottles that I felt were off flavored were helped by doing just that.

I'm with Dane... I drink ETL frequently and this doesn't sound "normal" to me.

Give any bourbon at least several tries over a period of time before reaching a conclusion. Human taste can vary amazingly because of health, mood, solar flares, lunar cycles, the Spring television re-run season, Presidential campaigns, etc.

After factoring in all this and everything else, if you decide a pour is not for you... that's all right. Move on and experiment with something else. And, of course, argue passionately about your conclusions on this site. That's why we're all here....

Gillman
12-21-2007, 13:17
I've never noticed an excess char taste in ETL. Some bottles in recent years have seemed a little earthy though, not musty but "damp loam".

Bottlings do vary, as does the palate at any given time as was mentioned, so it's a hard thing to pin down.

Gary

thanson
12-21-2007, 14:52
I had a similar experience. I bought one bottle about six months ago. I tried drinking it several times over a few months. It always had this intense odor and flavor that I can only describe as burnt corn husk.

It seems so well regarded that I'd like to try it again, but it's hard to justify spending the money when my only experience was so negative.

felthove
12-23-2007, 16:38
Thanks all. Your (positive) experiences and descriptions of the ETL are precisely why I was so confused. I'll continue to try it and perhaps pick up my next bottle from a different store and it therefore may be a different batch. I'm certainly not averse to barrel char but this is above and beyond what I've experienced with other bourbons (and ETL doesn't seem to be renowned for being wood heavy).

Pharaoh
12-24-2007, 08:54
Does the cork appear normal?

Frodo
12-24-2007, 21:05
Out of about 5 bottles of Blanton's that I've had, 3 were stellar, 1 was good, and one tasted a bit...off. Note that Blanton's is a single barrel bottling so taste variation will occur. Come to think of it, Elmer T. Lee is also a single barrel bottling as well, no?

Might be worth it to try other Buffalo Trace offerings to see if there is something in the distillery character that you don't like...

jinenjo
12-25-2007, 00:50
Some bottles in recent years have seemed a little earthy though, not musty but "damp loam".


Damp loam...

I like it.

Sijan
12-25-2007, 08:23
Sounds like a comparative tasting is in order. Invite a few other SB.com'ers in your area to bring over their own bottling of ETL and you can see if (a) your bottle of ETL strikes you as different from theirs and (b) if they think your bottle of ETL seems off.

macon
12-27-2007, 11:02
I just opened one with the same tast profile. Very different from most bottles of ETL I have consumed. ETL is my daily pour, so I have been through about 20 bottles since I started drinking it, and this is the second bottle with this very different tast profile. I hope this is not a trend.

full_proof
12-27-2007, 18:17
I have access to the earlier bottlings in the taller bottle (absent the wax-top) as well as the later-in-time, squat, wax-top bottlings with the likeness of Elmer T. Lee on them which may be clearly viewed, when sobriety permits, through the [amber-filled] bottle. I've not tried the earlier bottling, even though it screams "buy me" every time I visit this dive that has a dwindling supply of dusties. Jim Murray's 2000 review of the earlier bottling netted it a "9" (I know, and agree, Mr. Cowdery, that numeric, quantified ratings are a bunch of bunk) but that rating, and others, do bring about some temptation to purchase the older versions. Save me from myself! :slappin:

squire
12-30-2007, 22:14
This brand has been very satisfying to me for the last ten years or so. Having said that I wish they would go back to the screw top because the only "off" bottles I've had over the years, irrespective of brand, type or price, were all cork closure. No matter who made whats in the bottle, a bad cork relegates it to charcoal lighter.

Regards,
squire