Bourbon has never been a drink i have loved but that is all changing, so many friends are drinking this liquid and insisting i try different expressions.
Lets wind the clock back for this story though, I can remember trying the typical supermarket bourbons and thinking these are way too sweet and oaky for me. Those typical bottom end Bourbons did exactly the opposite of what they are intended to do, they turned me away from trying them. It is very typical of the bottom end drinks, in that if you try the wrong ones for you they wont give you the incentive to delve deeper.
I wont name the ones that i wasn’t overly happy with but like i said they were enough to turn me away for a long time.. Then of course i turned to whisky and that eventually made me want to explore the Bourbon scene a little deeper and that would obviously help understand the flavours we associate with whisky a little easier.
Now we all know that whisky is a minefield when it comes to understanding flavours, aromas and how these knit together to give us pleasure but take a look at Bourbon if you want to then want some deep interactions. There are not only different mashbills, production techniques, and of course styles but add to this the different maturation styles ( position within warehouse etc ) and Bourbon suddenly becomes very intriguing.
Several styles of Bourbon might come from the same distilleries buy with the differing mashbills and maturation to name just two variant’s they become so very different.
Blanton’s Bourbon is a Bourbon that i have always known about and so many of my friends who drink Bourbon have insisted i try some, well that time is finally here !!
Blanton’s Bourbon has become very hard to get hold of here in the UK, it wasnt so long ago that i would look and think ill get it next week or next month but as with so many things next week never came until the point that chasing these bottles became the normal and missing out on releases became normal.
Blanton’s is a Bourbon, as we know it today was i believe born from the re creation by Master Distiller Elmer T. Lee, who wanted to emulate the single barrel selections made by Colonel Albert B. Blanton who would select one barrel at a time from warehouse H. These barrels were referred to as the “Honey Barrels” are were intended to be drunk and offered to close friends, family and dignitaries.
This tradition inspired Elmer T Lee to create the Blanton’s Single Barrel, which was said to be the start of the premium Bourbon market.. Single barrel releases in any spirit is something i adore, it shows both the impact of distilling and the interaction with the wood, an obvious statement i know, but it highlights just how un predictable maturing a liquid in oak can be.. We can’t predict the outcome, quality or profile that will be there at the end of the process, the only thing we do know is this way of releasing the Bourbon / Whisky / Whiskey will give us something different every single time, a journey if you like.
Blanton’s Bourbon is interesting as like mentioned above it comes from warehouse H, but what i didn’t realise is, it only ever comes from this one warehouse. But what is so special about this warehouse ? Well it seems this warehouse is one of the first Metal / Tin style warehouses, which unlike the brick style dunnage warehouses we love for maturing Whisky at a cooler state actually speeds up maturation by allowing a higher temperature that emulates the outside temperature and allows the warming up, cooling down to happen far more naturally and faster..
Blanton’s Original Single Barrel
Distillery.. Buffalo Trace
Region.. Frankfort Kentucky
Cask.. American Virgin Oak Barrels
Nose.. Rich vanilla and tempting toffee notes lead seductively into candied orange notes, chocolate and tempting wood tannins.. Hints of dried fruits begin to surface along with a faint tobacco note, Butterkist popcorn, peanut brittle and Werther’s original candies..
Palate.. Spices lead the way with cinnamon coming in abundance, ginger bringing a little heat before those sweeter notes begin to take control with lashings of vanilla, toffee and butterscotch. There is a soft coffee note that lurks in the background along with orange peels, honey and oak.
Finish.. Lip smackingly good..
Thoughts.. Why o why has it taken me so long to try this Bourbon… The nose is delightful, the palate is sooo good and the finish just hangs around and seemingly refuses to leave without making you want to go back in for just one more sip.. Pour, nose, sip repeat….
Sample provided by Ben Bowers – The Spirits Specialist