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  1. #1
    Administrator in exile
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    BOTM, 7/07: Blanton's

    Any member of Straightbourbon.com who has been enjoying the fruits of bourbon whiskey for any amount of time has surely noticed a shift in product selection on the shelf of your favorite liquor store. Where once the selection consisted primarily of "house brands", Jim Beam, Ancient Age, Wild Turkey, etc., now, from these same distilleries, we are offered a plethora of fine single-barrel and small-batch bottlings. Higher quality products, with higher prices to boot. Many credit Jim Beam with starting this frenzy, with the release of the Small Batch collection. But let's look a little further back to the advent of the first single barrel bourbon on the market, and this month's BOTM, Blanton's.

    Created by Elmer T. Lee in honor of Col. Albert Blanton, Blanton's is true bourbon royalty. Well-balanced and full-flavored, the bourbon is quite deserving of it's elaborate packaging. Another, or rather the first, fine offering from the great folks at Buffalo Trace. Let's share a drink of Blanton's, the bourbon that started it all.

    Sounf off
    Simplicity is the essence of universality - MK Ghandi

  2. #2
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: BOTM, 7/07: Blanton's

    Good choice and I happened to have had some last night. This is Special Reserve (the regular 80 proof expression). While the 80 is not the classic expression in my view, it typifies the house character.

    This bourbon tends to be on the dry side and show good rye character. It is an austere drink, tending sometimes to a scotch-like palate (it always reminds me of one of the good Scotch blends like Teacher's or a malty blend like that). Recent samples, as for some other Trace brands, sometimes show an earthy/loamy quality which some people admire. I prefer Blanton's without this quality but then being a single barrel, it changes anyway somewhat from bottle to bottle and I am glad of the variations and subtleties that distinguish the bottlings. My bottle, recently purchased, was only light on the earthy notes which is fine by me.

    Recently I had an 80% full Old Weller 107 and topped it up with the Blanton 80. The Weller had itself before been let down to about 95 proof. The mingling is remarkably good, the Blanton adds body and flavor and softens quite a bit the assertive flavor of the Weller. A 4-grain fashioned from the products of one distillery always has a unity of taste (I find) that is pleasing. I attribute this to the fact of even two different mashbill whiskeys having certain commonalities when made in one place.

    Gary

  3. #3
    Connoisseur
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    Re: BOTM, 7/07: Blanton's

    Irrespective of expression, Iīve never had a Blantonīs that has been less than wonderful.

    Sad to say, the 93 proof, whoīs long been a staple here in Sweden, is no longer available. As a consequence, it has been some years since I last tried it. When forced to do mailorder from abroad I tend to go for the more exclusive Blantonīs bottlings.

    Anyway, as I remember the 93, it had a beautiful mixture of honey and light fruitiness, with a gentle unobtrusive finish that was simply stunning in its modesty. It might be something to do with the language barrier but I do not quite get this thing about "mustiness". As I understand it, this is something negative. A clumsy, primitive characteristic. I have never encountered anything reminiscent of this in my bottlings.

    At the moment, I have two Blantonīs at hand. One Straight from the cask and one 1998 vintage (for the French market). Needless to say, they are both stunning.

    P.S Gary, I find it interesting that you call the 80 proof regular. That one is pretty obscure to me (I have never tried it). I have always regarded the 93 proof as the standard bottling.
    Delighted to see you if you can find me!

  4. #4
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: BOTM, 7/07: Blanton's

    Well, in our market (i.e., U.S./Canada), I would say the lowest proof version is the regular, or standard, expression. But I agree with you that the brand is better at a higher proof. The bottlings you refer to likely are older and don't have the earthy quality (I didn't say musty) that has appeared in the brand in the last year or so, at least in my experience.

    I would say too the classic Blanton palate has a "gingery" taste.

    Gary
    Last edited by Gillman; 07-09-2007 at 14:24.

  5. #5
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    Red face Re: BOTM, 7/07: Blanton's

    I will need to drive to Kentucky and pick up a bottle. It is one of my favorites, but I have been out for quite a while and its no longer sold, here.

    Tim
    Self-Styled Whisky Connoisseur

  6. #6

    Re: BOTM, 7/07: Blanton's

    Quote Originally Posted by ratcheer View Post
    I will need to drive to Kentucky and pick up a bottle. It is one of my favorites, but I have been out for quite a while and its no longer sold, here.

    Tim
    While I'm not one to dissuade anyone from visiting Kentucky to buy bourbon, I'll note, Tim, that you probably need go no further than the first liquor store north of the Tennessee state line to find Blanton's. It's readily available here.
    Tim

  7. #7
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    Re: BOTM, 7/07: Blanton's

    I remember the first time I had blanton's. It was at a Alanta GA Steakhouse. I ordered a bourbon and the bartender suggested it. It was stunning. I proceeded to have 4 glasses worth with an excellant New York Strip and all the trimmings. Then the bill came. 13 dollars a glass or 52 dollars total (I can usually find it for 39 to 53 a bottle). All I could do was laugh as I never asked how much and our tab was transfered from the bar. After all I was well fed and Happy. As soon as a I could I picked up a bottle and it has never disapointed. I will always keep some on hand for some good pour with a friend.

  8. #8
    Bourbonian Of The Year 2013 and Guru
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    Re: BOTM, 7/07: Blanton's

    After spending the last couple of nights sipping Blanton's, my feeling is this is a very polished bourbon. Nice balance from nose to finish, but I kept looking for something in it to really stand out. Alas, I could find none. Maybe, it's "too" polished. To the point of being dull. Kind of like if you polish and polish a brand new penny every day to make it shine, you'll eventually rub Lincoln's face right off. I figure I probably have the same problem with Blanton's, that many others have with Maker's Mark. Like those folks, I like Blanton's well enough. Nice packaging, and I appreciate the historical significance of the brand. But, I just find it plain and unchallenging. It's not bad by any means. I just wish for something more from it, but it's not there. And, like Maker's, there are other iterations that are probably better, but of course, are not available domestically. But, all is not lost. Blanton's has many kinfolk in the BT family that are readily available. I will probably always have a bottle of Blanton's around. But, the other members of the BT family, although not as well dressed, will get invited to my party more often.

    JOE

  9. #9
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    Re: BOTM, 7/07: Blanton's

    For quite a long time I thought that Blanton's was the Gold Standard for bourbon. It was my favorite go to pour that I found unique and the fact that at the time it was hard to get out here just added to the mystique. As I tasted more and more I still appreciated Blanton's but found it not such the value and as stated before, a bit too polished, or as I commented recently, a bit "boutique".

    It went from my so called fav, to in my top 5, then top ten. The bottom line for me is that I still look for it and enjoy it, but I can say that about so many other pours that can be had for much less.

    I do enjoy the BT taste profile in it. Some describe as musty, save for one bottle that I suspect had cork issues I have not had a bad bottle of Blanton's.
    Emancipate yourself from mental slavery. None but ourselves can free our minds.

    Bob Marley.

  10. #10
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    Re: BOTM, 7/07: Blanton's

    Ah... one of my early favorites and still one that I keep open on my bar at all times. Distinguished and well balanced, with a delightfully dry finish. And the packaging is among the best looking in the industry.
    John B

    "Drinking when we are not thirsty and making love at all seasons… that is all there is to distinguish us from other animals."

 

 

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