Bourbon Reviews

Blanton’s Original

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Having previously reviewed two of the cheaper expressions from the Buffalo Trace Distillery, I thought it about time to give some attention to my favorite; Blanton’s Original Single Barrel. While you can find some general distillery information in the Ancient Age post, I don’t think any review of Blanton’s would be complete without the mention of its own historic bragging point – it was, according to their website, the worlds’ first single barrel bourbon. Not bad, right? Still young compared to most of our fine old Scotch malts (seeing as it was introduced in 1984), but impressive none the less!

Roughly twice the price of the previously reviewed Ancient Age and Benchmark, there may be those of you who will feel slightly intimidated by its price tag; especially if you’re hesitant towards drinking bourbons in the first place. In fact, I suppose I should admit that even I had to convince myself both two and three times before deciding to buy it (with the safer Scottish alternatives in the same price range in mind), and in the end was convinced me was, funnily enough, the design of the bottle. Quite unlike the failed attempt to be unique displayed by Antiquary, I love the shape of Blanton’s, I love the horseman on the cork and I love the label. All together it just oozes of upper-class 19th century America, and goes great in my bar-globe (which I’m fairly certain I’ve mentioned before, and definitely will do again).

Poured into a glass the color is golden amber, almost like honey or Lyle & Tate golden syrup. Often referred to as deep and intensely satisfying (which I think is spot on), the nose combines hints of dried fruit, spices, vanilla and faint citrus. The palate, meanwhile, packs an American-style punch of creamy vanilla toffee, spicy pepper and caramelised sugar. All the flavors come together very nicely indeed, if quite intense.

Eye: Honey, golden syrup

Nose: Deep & satisfying, dried fruit, spices, citrus and vanilla

Taste: Tongue-wrestling vanilla, honey, caramel, pepper and caramelized sugar

If you intend to drink your bourbon neat, and if your budget will allow it, I would definitely recommend this over the previously reviewed Buffalo Trace expressions (Ancient Age and Benchmark). If you intend to mix it, however, I would without doubt go for Benchmark instead; not just because it’s half the price, but because its flavors are more suited for the job.

Want to buy this whisky? Available in: USA & World (click)UK & Europe (click)

About Whisky Critic

My name is Martin and I live in Scotland. I love fine things in life, such as gourmet food, travelling around the world and, last but not least, whisky (naturally, I’m partial to a tipple of whiskey or bourbon as well). I have tasted hundreds of whiskies during the recent years and I finally decided to share my experience.

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4 Comments

  1. Paul mcnerney

    August 20, 2010 at 1:33 am

    I must say that my fairly educated pallet does not really like my bottle of Blantons from 1-8-10:(. I find it has a pleasant flavor at first then it all falls apart when the sharpness of the alcohol bites you back! I have a small library of single malts and bourbons some of which I live and some of which I like. This is the first bourbon I actually do not like drinking! I drank a third of the bottle hoping I would like it but it never happened. So far I am disappointed.

  2. JAMIE

    December 1, 2010 at 9:32 pm

    Dear Paul mcnerney (i’m uneducated), I would appreciated if you can list a readly-avail affordable bournons or malts/vatt/blend that PALATE (Palate Must Be) is LEATHERY Buttery + Tobacco or Cigar CHEW. Just like ‘whiskycitric’ commented with BENCHMARK (we dont have. blanton yes. EW black ye, and up)). I dont want heather I want leathery feel. I have spent whole year on this without luck and wasted money X over! THANK MAN!!!

  3. Ryan

    July 31, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    Dear Martin,
    It seems a shame that you folks in Great Britain seem to get gouged on the price of bourbon! In the USA, we also pay $50 for Blanton’s but something like Ancient Age is a cheap entry-level bourbon at around $12. In the states, we can get many mid-range bourbons in the $20-35 range that are as satisfying as Blanton’s, which makes me think Blanton’s is considerably overpriced. It’s good bourbon, just too expensive for what you get!
    -Ryan

  4. AH

    November 13, 2011 at 8:15 am

    I just want to point out that yes Blanton’s is young compared to the “fine old Scotch malt” but how many single barrel Scotches are there? Balvenie 15 is the only one that comes to mind… 🙂

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