Blanton’s has always been one of those outstanding and affordable bourbons. Since it is a single barrel, the quality is consistent from one season to the next. Blanton’s as a brand also has Special Reserve at 80 proof, Gold which is 103 proof Silver at 98 proof and finally Straight From The Barrel. For this particular batch was 128 proof.
A strong oak scent was almost immediately recognizable. It isn’t overwhelming in fact the oak scent makes it appealing from the start. The lighter smell of vanilla and caramel with a slight fruitiness to lighten up the intensity of the high proof. After letting it swirl around the glass for a few minutes, a slightly stronger scent of spices and a lesser charred wood to mellow out the nose.
When I first started this bourbon I did not realize it was as high of proof that it is. It wasn’t until my second sip that I realized it was 128 proof. Usually the heat is noticeable from the start. I detected a light burnt tobacco and brown sugar. In the background is the slightest hint of honey and butter. The complexity of the initial taste of charred oak, which then turns to light vanilla is unlike anything I have tried.
The finish is long and mellow. The heat dissipates quickly leaving behind a semi sweet and spice flavor. There is no bitterness to the finish. Many bourbons lose their bourbon quality as the drink ends but the intensity stays for nearly a minute afterwards.
This is a quality bourbon that needs to be sipped and shared with family and close friends. It would be a shame to use this as a mixer. Take the time to enjoy all this bourbon has to offer. Granted, Straight From The Barrel is not available in the U.S. If you are able to find some, savor it and appreciate all it has to offer.