Buffalo Trace Tastings
This distillery is named for the buffalo tracks that go along the nearby river. These tracks became a path for the early settlers to follow. Buffalo Trace distillery honors this heritage by its name sake and the buffalo it proudly presents on its label. Buffalo Trace is home to many different bourbons. The picture below is of its Antique collection that is distributed to market only but once a year and in very limited quantities. Other expressions are Eagle Rare single barrel, W.L.Weller, Elmer T. Lee Single barrel and more…
W. L. Weller 12 Year Small Batch Bourbon
The date is 10-23-2011 and this is another great bourbon coming from Buffalo Trace Distillery. William Larue Weller’s family recipe mixes things up a bit with the second most predominant grain being wheat. This brings a totally different complexity to this bourbon and the older it gets the better it becomes.
To the bourbon:
90 Proof Small Batch
Aged 12 years
Aged 12 years
“The Original Wheated Bourbon”
Many of W.L. Weller’s bourbons are bottle alike but, when you have an age stamp that is within the vintage range (9-14 years) it is going to be something special. Also, this bottle is special because it has a raised insignia of two (2) crossed sprigs of wheat with the phrase “Since 1849″ on the breast of the bottle. The lower aged Weller Bourbons come in a very similar bottle but, does not have this special distinguished marking.
The color of this 12 year old is about right for its age. It has a deep orange haze to it while being medium to dark amber in tone.
The nose is very appealing. Wheat and corn is strongly apparent. Sweet honeysuckle blossoms in the nose shortly after and then hints of wild cheery become apparent.
Nose in a glass:
This bourbon has a very smooth nose in the glass. Notes of dry oak, corn and wheat and hints of mint, burnt sugar and thyme balance this out. This is a bourbon that has a nose that should be captured and sold by itself.
Very pleasant! The taste is almost nothing like the nose (this is a nice transformation). Somehow they have been able to not only make a well balanced small batch but, when the nose of it complements the taste, it is very nice. This is a very smooth 90 proof that is worth keeping around. Burnt corn, oak char with a very interest note of fresh picked green beans is very nice on the finish. Since the batch does not have much rye the finish is not very dry yet, has a bit of sweetness to it. The plate flavors do not stay for long but, while it is in the mouth it is very pleasing. Notes of caramel and a short bit of cinnamon and pepper present themselves in front. There is not overwhelming intensity in this 12 year old and finally I keep noticing hints of dark coco and nugget popping up from time-to-time.
While this is not the most complex bourbon expression produced it is one that I do not mind adding a drop of ice or a spot of spring water to. When you do the plate intensity and flavors open up and stay on the tongue longer than if it were enjoyed neat. Regardless, however you have it; it is very nice and much smoother and flavorful than its baby brothers (Antique 107 and Special Reserve, both 7 year olds, to be reviewed at a later time). You will be hard pressed to find another 12 year old bourbon (Wheated or not) that is this good for the price. To note: This is a bourbon that does not stay around forever. There is sometimes not enough to pass around from the distillery. Even the big named liquor stores are unable to keep it on their shelves for long. People and bourbon enthusiast alike, know that this 12 year old Weller is something special and for the price you had better buy two bottles before they sell out again. Buffalo Trace does come out with it every year but, sometimes the stores are unable to keep it on hand.
W.L.Weller 12 year old Small Batch Bourbon has a deep bronze color that beautifully reflects the light — perfect purity; the initial nosing pass finds fully nature aromas of lanolin, almond oil, and creamed corn — in the middle stage sniffing’s, following several minutes of air contact, a toasty oaky/vanilla perfume takes the aromatic helm. The finish is sweet, oaky, and intensely grainy; follows in the footprints of the legendary Centennial and delivers the goods, all for an unbelievable price.
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
Single Barrel Sour Mash
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.
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.
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.
Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon
The date is 9-24-2011 and this bottle has been shared with one of my most trusted and loyal friends, my father. There is a long story that takes us back to the summer that he and I traveled around KY visiting a number of Bourbon distilleries (i.e. The Bourbon Trail) but, perhaps we can leave that for another time. Blanton’s Single Barrel has been dubbed one of the finest bourbons; and so it should. Being created by one of the best and creative bourbon masters, Elmer T. Lee, say enough about this bourbon even before the bottle is opened.
To the bourbon:
93 Proof Single Barrel
Aged 10 years
Barrel No. – 66
Bottled on – 8-5-10
Aged in Barrel House “H”
Rested in Rick No. 48
Horse letter – N
The first thing I noticed is probably the same thing most everyone notices when they look at a Blanton’s bottle, the cork topper. There is a figure on a horse on top of every bottle. There are eight (8) different horses that make it on top of the bottles. There’s one (1) different style of horse for every letter of its bourbons name. Each horse is in a different pose, from walking into the starting gate, to crossing the finish line at the end of the race.
This bourbon is not filtered as much as others are. The color of it is rich and dark amber with a hint of particulate from the lack of profuse filtering. Bourbons that are not filtered or “chill” filtered are not as clear but, have amazing little bits of yumminess.
This is a bourbon that has a nose that makes your mouth water. Hint of char with caramel-vanilla loveliness.
Nose in a glass:
There is a little nose of corn with cinnamon and wheat.
There is a nice pop of rye on your tongue and cheeks and then slowly the flavor flows down your throat even after you have swallowed. The ending is very nice with notes on vanilla and oats. Deeper are the charred staves in which this bourbon longs to be a part of once more. There is just a hint of corn sweetness and orange rind. The rye comes on heavy with an added spot of spring water.
This is a bourbon that is on the complex side of things but, not overly so. If you are looking for bourbon that will linger in your mouth, then Blanton’s is for you. This is truly so when you add a bit of ice or a spot of water. The slight intensity on your pallet is nudged further with that addition as well. I have mostly enjoyed this bourbon in front of a camp fire in the freezing winter with snow all-round. Share this one with your best friend and make some memories in front of the fire.
Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon has a rich, spicy aroma with dried citrus and orange peel and a hint of caramel and vanilla. The palate is full and soft, marked by a mix of burnt sugar, caramel, orange and clove.