In my humble opinion, Blanton’s is one of those bourbons that really doesn’t need a review or any tasting notes. I think most will agree that Blanton’s is just exceptional, so there really is no need to say any more. Fine bourbon is fine bourbon.
Nonetheless, this particular barrel selection from Tallahassee’s Market Square Liquors is truly an exceptional pick, and one deserving of some special attention. I had a lot of time to think and drink this holiday season, so suffice to say I worked my way through my bourbon cabinet. I don’t mean to brag, but I have some pretty rare and exceptional bourbon in stock right now, but I regularly found myself coming back to this bottle because I enjoyed it that much. It has such a nice balance of flavors and it really stands out as a complex, flavorful, and very easy-drinking bourbon.
Blanton’s is made from Buffalo Trace’s mashbill #2, which consists of corn, rye, and barley at undisclosed percentages. The rye content of this mashbill is a little higher than BT’s mashbill #1, and is responsible for some of the best single barrel bourbons available, including Blanton’s, Elmer T. Lee, Rock Hill Farms, and Hancock’s Reserve.
The gentlemen from Market Square picked this barrel (No. 54) back in May of this year from Rick #2 in Warehouse H and it was dumped on July 17, 2018. As always, it comes in at 93 proof (46.5% abv).
Appearance – the perfect dark orange amber.
Nose – the nose is soft but very well-defined, with notes of caramel, cinnamon, nutmeg, some spice, and some notes of winter fruits. With some time and patience, the nose opens up to sweet cereal, milk chocolate, and leather. I thought the nose on this barrel select was also slightly sweeter than normal Blanton’s and had less alcohol coming through on the nose.
Palate – there is a nice balance of sweetness and spice up front. Not surprisingly, there is absolutely no burn. This is a thick, oily bourbon that leaves a wonderful mouthfeel. The flavors are complex, with notes of vanilla, caramel, baking spices, and oak, along with the traditional Blanton’s citrus profile. There is also a very subtle sweetness throughout the sip that is reminiscent of golden honey. On the palate, I thought this bourbon had more bite than usual, as the flavors were more well defined and consistent with what I typically expect from a higher-rye mashbill.
Finish – this bourbon lingers with the perfect balance of flavors. There is rye spice, cinnamon, brown sugar, and vanilla, along with some citrus notes. As I continued to drink I was reminded of candied pecans.
If you’re lucky enough to come across a bottle of this barrel select, you would be remiss not to take it home with you. With this barrel selection you get everything that is great about Blanton’s with some additional strength and complexity that makes for an excellent pour. If you can’t find a bottle, stop by the lounge next door to Market Square to try a glass . . .or four!