Review #8: Blanton's Straight From the Barrel: Bourbon
Updated: Jun 19, 2020
Score: 7.8-8.5 / 10
Distillery: Buffalo Trace
Type: Kentucky Straight Higher Rye
Blanton's Straight from the Barrel is becoming highly sought after from the current demand for the Original Bottling. For Blanton's noobs, there are 6 versions of this bourbon currently mass produced as part of the main line (not including special editions). However, 5 of them are only sold internationally. This is because even though they are all distilled in Kentucky, the rights to the other 5 versions are actually Japanese owned. Be on the lookout for the Gold version. This has been released to the US as of June, 2020. I have no idea how sought after this will be, but I wouldn't ever expect to see it on a shelf. I am expecting it to be a highly allocated whisky and arguably so as many find Blanton's to be one of the best whiskey brands. I do have a warning though. If you don't like "hot" whiskeys...... this may not be for you. Full-Proofers only for this particular Bourbon.
The Details: 126.7 proof/63.35% alc/vol, Barrel #367, Warehouse H, Rickhouse #14
1st Tasting: Served in a Glencairn glass – 1st served neat
Nose: Pepper, ethanol, oak, spice, musty corn, vanilla, burnt sugar, raisin
Palate: pepper, burst of spice that lingers throughout, hints of caramel, toasted oak, cinnamon. Mouthfeel is very oily and pricks the palate with spice
Finish: long and creamy vanilla finish that lingers then slowly fades. Even minutes later spice still lingers at the front of the mouth on the bottom of my lip.
Score 7.8 – disappointing for what I was expecting the price paid ($165) and the hype around
2nd tasting:Revisited with half an ice cube:
Nose: layered behind musty corn lies hints of fruit (cherry/strawberry) coupled with lemon zest and orange rind
Palate: creamy milkshake chocolate and toffee slides down the tongue with a burst of citrus and dark fruit (plum). This is what I have been waiting/looking for. Initial flavors fade into bitter cacao and fresh ground coffee, some vanilla present. Mouthfeel is intensely slick but the prickling spice is now gone.
Finish: lightly bitter, again not dissimilar to finishing a carafe of French Press or an iced coffee. Lingering oak on the back-end is coupled by a mellow cinnamon spice. More tannic and present on the sides of my mouth as if to add weight to my cheeks. Tannic weight sits and slow fades (5-10 minutes).
Score 8.5 – Enjoyed this much more on the revisit with half an ice cube. I think the bottom line is that this bottle of STFB was just too damn hot neat. The ice opens up a myriad of flavors and tones down the spice. I am no stranger to barrel proofs – Elijah Craig, George T Stagg, Stagg Junior, 1792 Full Proof, William Larue Weller, Booker’s, Maker’s Mark RC6 and even Smoke Wagon (136.9 proof) are some of my favorites. However the spice on this bottle was simply overwhelming and static in nature – the nose, plate and finish hardly changed throughout the drinking experience. Adding some high-quality H2O changes that and makes for a much more enjoyable dram.
S+ Sensational - The Pinnacle (9.5+)
A - AXEceptional (astounding) (9-9.5)
B - bravo (step aBove average) (8-8.9)
C - competent (7-7.9)
D - disappointing (6-6.9)
F - flush it down the toilet (fail) (5.9 below)
Notes: Availability? Not sold in the US. Uncommon to Common and found in many countries that do not tax alcohol by its proof including Japan, France, and the UK.