Blanton’s Bourbon comes from the same stable as Buffalo Trace, and is produced at their distillery in Franklin, Kentucky.
It was (according to their website) the first “single barrel bourbon” when released in 1984, although it also notes that Colonel Blanton (for whom they are named) used to have his favourite single barrels bottled long before that – so perhaps they just mean commercially marketed as such.
Blanton’s Gold Edition is a 51.5% ABV ‘international only’ edition – something a lot of distilleries on both sides of the Atlantic seem to like doing, for reasons I have never understood.
The aroma is honey sweet with dates and a little wood, with just a touch of black pepper lurking at the end. Watered, there are notes of old dried citrus peel, like tired pot pourri – but the richness, although muted, is still present.
In the mouth it’s rich and not too sweet; after some initial dark honey there is dried orange peel, old wood and a nicely dry, slightly tannic finish. With water the honey is a little lost, but the fruit notes become darker and sweeter – dark plums perhaps. The oaky finish remains, and there’s a nice background spice that comes through more clearly.
I wasn’t entirely sure about this at first, but I think a splash of water opens up the flavours quite interestingly and leaves me wanting more. 4 stars.
Many thanks to Master of Malt for providing their excellent Bourbon Advent Calendar this year.