One bourbon I’d been reading about repeatedly all over the web is the Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel, named after the Master Distiller by the same name who joined the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky in the mid 20th century. Since what I’d been reading was praise on every account, my curiosity was naturally stoked, and I finally caved in and bought a bottle. $28 isn’t cheap, so needless to say my expectations going in were high.
How did my investment pay off? The Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel was a lovely deep reddish amber color in the bottle, consistent with 14 years of aging. It was immediately clear to me when I picked up the bottle that the consistency was smooth and thick.
Opening the bottle and taking a breath, I smelled a delicious mix of spicy, buttery toffee and nutty oak. I took a moment to savor this smell before I poured my drink. I knew from the first whiff that the Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel was going to be something special, and probably pretty addicting. Taste is exactly what you’d expect from this introduction—a backdrop of toffee with hints of apricot and citrus. Despite the high alcohol content, this bourbon goes down very smooth and warm—somewhat deceptively. It’s very easy to want to overindulge in this stuff! I’ve tried it with a number of different drinks and it mixes well with pretty much anything. It has just enough presence to enhance the flavor and body of another beverage without overwhelming the individual character of the drink you’re mixing it into. The result is a unique and enjoyable experience every time.
In conclusion? I’ve bought a lot of cheaper bourbons, but you do get what you pay for. This one isn’t cheap, but it’s also not overwhelmingly expensive. The Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel provides an excellent drinking experience, and therefore it’s a great value for your dollar. I’m trying not to rush through this first bottle, but I’m also already saving up for another. The praise this bourbon has been getting is well deserved; the Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel will please veteran bourbon drinkers but it could also serve as an accessible and delectable introduction for a beginner.
Color: Deep reddish amber.
Nose: Buttery toffee, spices, nuts, oak, sweet but not cloying.
Taste: Toffee, apricot, citrus, oak, spices, sweet and light.