Review #146: Blanton's Straight From the Barrel

After my review of Blanton’s Gold fellow r/bourbon member u/supercondriac traded me a bottle of Straight From the Barrel, the only regular Blanton’s release I hadn’t been able to taste yet. As the name indicates this expression of Blanton’s is uncut and unfiltered. I’d read a lot of really positive stuff about this one alongside a few, quieter remarks about it being a little harsh. I was a little nervous about a NAS straight from the barrel bourbon but I was also excited to try it. Let’s see if it was better than the Gold!

Blanton’s Straight from the Barrel

Age: NAS

Abv: 127.3 proof

Dump date: 7/11/18

Barrel: Warehouse H Rick 12 #797

Neat

Nose: Sweet with vanilla and caramel notes. Reminds me of regular Blanton’s.

Taste: Starts sweet then gets a little harsh with caramel sweetness, oak, some spice and a bit of ethanol. Nice and oily mouthfeel.

Finish: Long and wonderful with warm spice, tobacco, rich oak, sweet caramel and vanilla notes.

Conclusion

When I first nosed Blanton’s SFTB I was a little uncertain and slightly underwhelmed, next I got to the palate and it was very good but a little hot for me making me think Gold was my Blanton’s but finally I got to the finish and understood what all the fuss was about. The nose is good but pretty similar to Blanton’s single barrel whereas the palate had noticeably more oak and spice notes. The finish was phenomenal and is only matched by Joseph Magnus Cigar Blend for me. A little time to open up in the bottle and a couple drops of water sorted out the harshness and left the brilliant finish intact. That said the harshness, likely from being a bit young youth, and simple nose held this back from being a 10/10 for me.

Overall this has become my favorite mashbill 2 expression and possibly my overall favorite rye bourbon from Buffalo Trace. I’ll need to get a sample of a good year of GTS to do a side by side and see!

On another note I added a bit too much water on the first attempt and quenched the finish but eventually dialed it in. I was talking to a fellow bourbon drinker about this later and he suggested cutting it with a splash of regular Blanton’s instead of with water to help preserve the finish but tone down the heat a bit. It worked very well but so did adding just a couple drops of water.

I also ended up with 2 samples of other barrels of SFTB a 130.3 proofer and a 136.6 monster. I’ll just say I’m glad I got the bottle I did an not something with almost 10 more points of proof!

TL;DR: Great bourbon with a truly amazing finish; I prefer it with a couple drops of water or a splash Blanton’s SiB.

9 - a favorite I’d like to keep on my shelf

Scale

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Bonus tasting notes

SFTB with a splash of Blanton’s SiB

Nose: Unchanged, more sweet vanilla and caramel.

Taste: Slightly sweeter and smoother though a bit of the oak and spice are missing as well.

Finish: Just as long and delicious as it was without the splash.