Blanton's Straight from the Barrel Bourbon Review
It's the second to last day of the #12DaysofWhiskeyExchange that @bourbondipity_ put together. This pour was added courtesy of Phil Acin. This one is usually savored for special company that I know will appreciate it. It garners high praise every time it is sampled and I'm really stoked to be trying a different barrel of this to see if there are big differences to the barrel I previously reviewed. Only way to find out is to taste it... so let's get on with it!
Company on Label: Blanton Distilling Company
Whiskey Type: Bourbon
Mash Bill Percentages: Buffalo Trace Mash Bill #2 (Higher Rye 12-15%)
Age: NAS (estimated to be ~6 years)
Further identification: Dumped 1-22-20 from Warehouse H, Rick 12, Barrel 488.
Nose: Creamy fruit from across the table - I already like what I smell. On bringing the glass to my nose I get a rich, deep earthy caramel. Smoked meat with a brown sugar glaze greets me as well. This feels dark as can be with a sweet, funky mustiness that I recall experiencing before. Older oak is certainly present, giving the feeling that the 6 year estimate on this may be conservative. Stewed peach cobbler and spiced plum pudding show up now with some heft. Toasted oak and confectionary sugar. Deep molasses. Hints of lemon peel zest. Soft black tea. Oooh, the citrus notes have really started to build now with lemon meringue pie sweeping in loftily. On a swirl some of the spicier aromas bubble up. Allspice, soft clove and a hint of anise give this some great depth of character. Alongside the spice there is a subtle mint smell as well that leaves the nose feeling cool. Time for a sip, I've waited long enough! After a taste, things are leaning much more towards a lovely vanilla salt water taffy. After a long rest, malted corn sweetness is prevalent, followed by a sweet marshmallow on the left nostril. The right nostril has the dark fruit and spice storm that comes off a bit fiery. Wow, late in the glass well-oiled leather has formed on top of the glass. Smelling through that reserve reveals sugar cookie and sweet oak. The empty glass smells of peppered honeycomb, campfire smoke, soft caramel and a life-savers minty white cotton.
Palate: First sip is incredibly cherry forward. It's candied and incredibly sweet with cinnamon hots following shortly after. The cherry note seems to have been injected with a rich vanilla - becoming so entwined together that they quickly alternate, spiraling like a barber shop candy cane pole across my tongue. Oh my, really, the vanilla on this is so rich and it builds incredibly on subsequent sips. Hints of pear and apricot follow on the long linger that floats around in the top of my chest. The mouth feel is sweet and coating like a thick maple syrup experience. Later in the glass the cinnamon spice really kicks it up into high gear. It's never quite hot, but really flirts with getting there. It tingles my gums and rolls over the palate like a slow wave, very similar to the experience I get from 2020 George T Stagg. My last sip of the first 1oz of this is smoky now alongside oodles of cherry, plum and fig sweetness. There is a honeysuckle texture that sticks to every surface of my mouth it touches. Spring florals blow softly in the breeze on the long, smoldering finish. You better believe I am pouring the other 1oz of this now. This is delicious.
Incredibly robust, complex and fun to experience... this is my definition of a 5/5! I love sharing this pour and am very thankful to have been shared a new barrel to experience. This one really knocked it out of the park for me. It didn't quite have the instant 'WOW' factor of some of my other top ranked pours have had, but the summative complexity of this sets it clearly apart from other middle-of-the-road releases. Will every Straight from the Barrel release taste as good as this one? Probably not, but I haven't been let down yet in my limited (2 barrel) experience. Hope you are able to enjoy some of this as I have! Cheers.