The Blanton's Gold review
Company: Buffalo Trace
Age: No Age Statement
Extra Note: The whiskey in this bottle was dumped on 13th January 2014 from barrel No. 222. Stored in warehouse H on rick No. 52. The bottle number is 221
Classification: Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Breakdown: Buffalo Trace Mash-bill No.2 (Rye between 12-15%)
Price: c. £70
Blanton’s Gold was an early foray for the Gents into the congested market place of bourbon reviews. It has been nearly 3 years (and a significant learning curve) since that review was first published. So what have we learnt since it was first posted? Well, nothing much has changed in terms of preferences. Mr Pie stays a huge fan of this bourbon and is an unpaid and unofficial ambassador for the brand; whereas Mav is more reserved with his praise, and would probably recommend investing your hard earned income into bourbons with a more traditional tasting profile. Mav did though noticeably wobble when a glass of Blanton's Straight From the Barrel was placed under his nose, and this has possibly started to turn him into a Blanton’s believer.
Blanton’s Gold is one of only a handle of bourbons which has made it into all three of our Top Ten Bourbons of the Year articles, and the Blanton’s story was also part of our very successful series of Bourbon Tales. We have now reviewed 3 out of the 4 Blanton’s expressions which are available with only the Special Reserve (green label) left to review to complete the full set. Watch this space.
There has been no change to the worldwide distribution of the Blanton’s expressions though. Only the Original Single Barrel is available in the United States, whilst the entire range is available outside of the States to selected international markets. Thankfully for us this includes the UK. There is a very small paragraph on their official website referring to this and it simply states that production is very limited and they have decided to make it only available to selected international markets. There is no doubt that this is an interesting commercial strategy but it must be extremely frustrating for the locals who have to find other resourceful methods at additional expense to try their own home grown produce.
The overall popularity of bourbon continues unabated with no sign of the bubble bursting and Blanton’s are struggling themselves to keep with current demand outpacing supply. Blanton’s openly admit that there may be times when shelves in the US cannot be filled. With news like that, we suggest you pour yourself a stiff drink and read on…
In 1984 Blanton's became the first ever commercially sold single barrel bourbon. For the complete story, if you're interested and want to know more, please visit their website https://goo.gl/M9fBFr
Blanton's is named after one of the distilleries early pioneers Albert B Blanton. It is thought that he worked there for 55 years. Starting as office boy and finishing his career as president of the whiskey plant (so just a slight promotion then). He was affectionately known as Colonel Blanton as he held the honorary title of Kentucky Colonel.
This review is for Blanton’s Gold Edition which is one of four different expressions in the range. The Original Single Barrel is the most recognised and widely available Blanton’s. The Gold Edition, alongside Special Reserve (green label and promoted as the introductory edition), and Straight From The Barrel, are only available outside of the US and in duty free organisations.
The bottle shape is very unusual and almost looks like a hand grenade. The stoppers in the Single Barrel bottles form a set of 8. Each one features a horse and jockey in different poses, and each stopper also depicts a different letter so that once all are collected you can spell out 'BLANTONS' or 'BLASTNON' if you're dyslexic like Mav.
For this review we drank it neat in a Glencairn glass
What we got – Fruit, apple, raisins and sultanas, sweetness and spice. If a smell could ever depict or suggest how delicious a taste could be, then this would be it (Mr Pie)
What they say we should get - Oaky, dry. Plenty of fruit mostly dried. Chewy peels, floral. Spicy
What we got – Strength of the alcohol hits you straight away, fruit nose carries on to the taste and as per usual the spice. With water not as harsh (we know that is obvious), softens the peppery taste
What they say we should get - Complex, enjoyable top notes, chewy oak. Dark stone fruits, deep spices, peppy and rich
What we got – Full bodied, medium to long finish with no burn in the throat
What they say we should get - Long, toffee, drying
This is the first review which has really split the Gents from a scoring perspective, although it's fair to say that both Gents love the quirky bottle shape and horse and jockey stopper! It is also different that for once those living outside of the US have a chance to sample something that our American cousins find a little harder to get hold of.
We both agree that it's an above average bourbon but, as you can see from the scores below, Mr Pie is more of a fan than Mav (probably because of the relatively high percentage of rye for the second grain).
This is definitely a 'horses for courses' (forgive the pun) bourbon. If you love spice and pepper on the palate then Mr Pie would say it's certainly worth the hefty price tag as this is one of the best around. However, if like Mav, you favour bourbon with more toffee and caramel hints then this is nothing special and you would be better off taking your money elsewhere.
6 out of 10 - Mav
9 out of 10 – Mr. Pie