Blanton’s has its place in history as being the first Single Barrel Bourbon, setting the standard for others to follow by creating a new 'super-premium' bourbon category. Quite simply, the product is aged in one barrel, and unlike most others, never blended with other bourbon. The principle behind the concept is that each barrel of Bourbon varies, and the whiskey in it acquires a slightly different flavour profile. Furthermore, where barrels are stored in a warehouse, the immediate environment can make a considerable impact on how the whiskey matures. The master distiller periodically samples the whiskey in barrels, especially those barrels in the best part of the warehouse. (Usually this is the very center of the warehouse, called 'the heart' of the warehouse. ) Those barrels that are discovered to contain unusually fine whiskey are recorded and tracked with care. There is no margin for error because there is no way to compensate for flavour by mixing the spirit with any other liquid at a later period. At considerable expense to the distillery, the selected barrels are allowed to mature in years far beyond the average age of Bourbon. When they are at their peak of perfection, they are taken from the warehouse -- one by one -- and bottled one barrel at a time and then packaged by hand. In this way the cream of the crop, so to speak, becomes single barrel Bourbon. The intended result is a new classic every time: unfiltered, uncut - Bourbon of a most individual expression. As a consequence, each bottling can vary in style and flavour.
Blanton's first Single Barrel release was in 1984. It was named after Colonel Albert Bacon Blanton, who in 1901 at the age of twenty became superintendent of the distillery. It was reportedly a labor of love for Blanton who led the enterprise as the only working distillery in Kentucky during Prohibition (1920 to 1933) and had the distillery back and running within 24 hours of the floodwaters subsiding following the great flood of 1937. Master Distiller Elmer T. Lee, Member of the Master Distiller's Hall of Fame, oversaw the introduction of single barrel bourbons. Current Master Distiller, Gary Gayheart, carries on the tradition. All Blanton's Bourbons are superbly packaged in a jewel-like decanter. The tiny horse and jockey on the bottle stoppers have become a trademark of Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon. Blanton's have produced a collectors edition set of eight different stoppers, with horse and jockey in different strides and poses. Each stopper is marked with a single letter that spells Blanton’s when the set has been completed.
Other reviews... Copper hue. Sweet vanilla, caramel, and dried fruit, aromas are appealing. Supple on the palate with rich toffee, allspice, and pepper notes. Has a great balance between dryness and fruity sweetness that tapers to a smooth finish.
International Review of Spirits Award: Gold Medal
RATED: 90 points (Exceptional) - Tasting note sourced from www.tastings.com
'The nose is a riot of of small grains with distant marmalade and sweet ripe plums. On the palate simmering bitter-sweet corn and rye battle, with a rich banana and custard middle. The finish is quite intense with a liquorice, bitter coffee surge. This goes down a treat. One to swallow and never spit.'
Rating: 91 - Jim Murray’s Whiskey Bible, 2006
1/2 Orange Slice 1 cube of sugar 2 dashes of Angostura Bitters 60ml Blantons Original Bourbon whiskey (or Rye Whiskey)
The first use of the specific name 'Old Fashioned' was for a Bourbon whiskey cocktail in the 1880s, at the Pendennis Club, a gentlemen’s club in Louisville, Kentucky. The recipe is said to have been invented by a bartender at that club, and popularized by a club member and bourbon distiller, Colonel James E. Pepper, who brought it to the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel bar in New York City. When properly made, this cocktail can represent the pinnacle of the bartenders trade. When done improperly, which is more often the case, it can be a disaster of mediocrity. One of the oldest recipes known going by the name of Old Fashioned, comes from 'Modern American Drinks' by George J. Kappeler, published in 1895: “Dissolve a small lump of sugar with a little water in a whiskey-glass; add two dashes Angostura bitters, a small piece ice, a piece lemon-peel, one jigger whiskey. Mix with small bar-spoon and serve, leaving spoon in glass”. This very closely resembles the recipe which you should be served by a modern day bartender, but for reasons that are just a little unclear, you will generally be served something totally different.
Method: Muddle orange, sugar, bitters together until the sugar is mostly dissolved. Fill glass with ice, then add the whiskey. Garnish with a marachino cherry, and perhaps an additional orange slice. Serve with a swizzle stick and/or straw. - notes partially sourced from www.drinkboy.com
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