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Newest Bourbon Review: Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel Bourbon

October 20, 2011

Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel Bourbon

The date is 10-20-2011 and this bottle of bourbon was created to commemorate a legend in bourbon making. Elmer T. Lee has now since retired from the now Buffalo Trace distillery but, is still very much of a part of the art of bourbon. This expression is a single barrel that comes from is private stash hidden in a barrel house on the distilleries property. This bourbon is from one of the few Honey Barrels that he has chosen.

To the bourbon:

90 Proof Single Barrel

Aged about 10 years

Bottle Statements:

Single Barrel Sour Mash

First notes:

The first thing I noticed is that the label has a nice depiction of Elmer on the front. The bottle is not your everyday round bottle and has nice indented hand grooves with a cork topper.


The next is the color of this single barrel. It is light copper with a golden honey tone to it.

First nose:

A quick corn nose appears that is very consistent and very light.

Nose in a glass:

Again, the nose in a glass is pretty much the same as in the bottle. Very light, with a bit of grassy molasses nose at the end with hints of vanilla and mint.


Very nice straight forward, it taste pretty much as it smells. This is a bourbon that can be enjoyed all day long. It is very simple and not very complex. Definite corn, and apple wood is apparent. Cured sugar, clover, cinnamon and a very small splash of wheat. The flavor has a very short lived bell curve and does not stay on your tongue for very long. That is why it is only nice and not exceptional. Bourbons that are of this age and proof can have a very wide range of pallet intensity. This one is very mute.


This is not the most complex bourbon you going to find on the market. If you are looking for a very nice bottle and simple straight forward flavors, then this bourbon is for you. Honestly there is not much to say about it. It is relatively mute in flavor and nose. It is not bad by any means but, quite the opposite. Elmer should be very proud of this 10 year old single barrel bourbon but, I would love to try it without filtration and at a barrel proof. I think too much of its character is stripped away during the processing.

This bourbon should be enjoyed neat or from the freezer. A spot of ice does open it up a bit and some oak charr and smokiness does appear. This would be a great for a first time bourbon drinker. If you like Makers Mark or other relatively muted flavor bourbons then you will like Elmer T. Lee’s single barrel. It is just a bit more sophisticated and it is priced relatively average and will inspire you to explore.

Outsider review:

Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel Bourbon has notes of butterscotch, clover, vanilla and old leather. The palate provides intense fruits, honey and vanilla with a light spiciness that shows off the distiller’s craft.

There will be a new review about every week. Stay tuned in for future reviews. Please write if you have a specific bourbon you would like a review on next!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Joey permalink
    February 15, 2012 11:23 pm

    You missed a lot of the flavor profile, especially the peach, which is prevalent in both the taste and bouquet. It also lingers for quite a long time. I took my last sip several minutes ago and it is still here. Of course, everyone has different taste buds.

    • February 16, 2012 2:41 am


      Thanks so much for your reply. There very well could be other flavors that you may have experienced. Since Buffalo Traces’ Elmer T. Lee bourbon is a single barrel, every batch/barrel will taste, sometimes very different. It is of course very possible that your bottle taste similar to the one I reviewed but, the two bottles will never be the same. That is the beauty Single Barrel expressions.

      Also, you are very right that everyone palate is different. I have tasted many different bottles of Elmer T. Lee Straight Bourbon and they are always uncomplicated and insipid expressions. This is why it is great to have so many different bourbon expressions to try and choose from. I am continually exploring for my next favorite expression.

      Thank you very much for your interest is SHW and I look forward to your replies in the future.

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