Blanton’s Special Reserve is a unique bourbon that may be less popular than other Blanton’s bottles. It is ideal for amateur bourbon drinkers.
It’s light and carries certain characters from the Original Blanton’s Single Barrel. Its lightness accommodates different types of drinkers. The Special Reserve offers a less intense experience to most.
The thrill might lie in its beautiful packaging and innovative presentation. In the past, it was sold outside of the US but distilled in Kentucky.
You might be considering this bottle for a celebration or to add to your collection. In this review, we assess Blanton’s Special Review to help you decide.
Blanton’s Special Reserve (Our Review)
The Blanton’s Special Reserve presents a unique blend of flavors. It features hints of cedar and vanilla. The bourbon is quite unique but quite controversial amongst enthusiasts.
The long history of Blanton’s begins in 1771 when the Buffalo Trace Distillery. From the onset, the brand sought to mark itself as a high-quality brand. Blanton’s Special Reserve is true to its origins. Blanton’s has released high-quality bourbon for its enthusiasts time and time again.
Buffalo Trace Distillery has survived a fatal fire and Prohibition. It continues to thrive as a leading distillery in the world of bourbon. Some bourbon enthusiasts might feel that the brand is a bit of a disappointment.
The bottle is a great choice for family occasions where preferences in drinks may vary. It had left us wondering, is Blanton’s Special Reserve worth the fuss?
A Good Starting Point
Blanton’s Special Reserve is ideal for the beginner in bourbon drinking due to the unique nature of the blend. The first sip, presents spiciness, sweetness, and strong balanced nature.
Pour it in a short and wide glass to absorb the scent, flavors, and taste. A wide-mouthed glass is ideal to appreciate the woody and citrus notes.
Blanton’s Special Reserve is rare because it’s produced in small batches every several years. It’s usually sold online as opposed to your local bottle store when it is available.
Production & Aging
The Blanton brand has a rich history and special production techniques. The Blanton’s Special Reserve comes from a single barrel.
In the 1940s, Colonel Blanton would walk through the Buffalo Trace Distillery. He would hand-select barrels for the special reserve. He selected unique barrels layered with the scent of honey. Colonel Blanton only opened the bottle to serve his special guests.
To this day, production takes place at the same distillery.
In the 1980s, the Special Reserve went commercial. The push came from Elmer T. Lee. Since the 1980s, it has gained a reputation in the single-barrel bottling category.
The minimum age for any bourbon is six years. Newly-made bourbon doesn’t present the same complex qualities as one that’s aged a few years. It’s important to control the aging process because one might overdo it. Six years is the ideal aging period for improving the taste of bourbon.
Preparation & Enjoyment
The Blanton’s Special Reserve is ideal for cocktails. You can also enjoy the bourbon straight with no chaser. At 80-proof, it’s best enjoyed neat. If you want to appreciate the palate and finish, it’s best to prepare the bourbon. A cocktail might not be the best way to enjoy the Special Reserve.
In true Blanton’s fashion, the various elements; from the look to the palate and nose, it’s on-brand. The Blanton’s Special Reserve boasts classy packaging and details of the dump date on the bottle.
The bottle carries the classic grenade shape and the signature horse on the bottle cap. The aesthetic makes the Special Reserve a great addition to the shelf. The color of the liquid itself is light brown and is honey-colored.
Its look will have you salivating even before the first sip. The look and feel are the best part of Blanton’s Special Reserve.
If you enjoy a bit of sweetness in your bourbon then you’ll appreciate the sweet notes of honey, citrus, and vanilla. The evolved enthusiast might appreciate the hint of pepper.
The palate is simple. It’s not as complex and as full as other Blanton releases. After a few sips, you might either grow bored or ease into the light taste.
Due to the low ABV, the nose is quite light too. Blanton’s Special Reserve has grain, new wood, dried fruit, and citrus.
Again, the Special Reserve contrasts and even gentrifies the Original Single Barrel. Many enthusiasts would even question why it’s considered ‘special’.
It accommodates drinkers at all levels without overwhelming or intimidating them.
Although it starts off with lightness and simplicity, the finish itself is distinguishable. The finish has rye, hints of leather, and fresh grass. It lingers in the most subtle way leaving a pleasant and definitive taste.
Until 2021, the Blanton’s Special Reserve was available in Japan and in other markets outside of the US. When purchasing it directly, you can expect to pay anything between $40 and $50.
Of course, this is one of Blanton’s higher-end international bottles. In the online and international market, a bottle is around $65 and it can go up to $100 duty-free. The price is quite reasonable for a high-end bourbon.
The novice bourbon enthusiast starts somewhere affordable for a special reserve bottle.
This is quite debated amongst enthusiasts. The price range means that a buyer can get more sophisticated bourbons at the same cost. If you factor in shipping costs, the local bodega might be a better option to get a decent bourbon.
For collectors of the brand or bourbon – the Blanton’s Special Reserve is worth the money.
If you’re seeking a deeper bourbon experience, skip the Blanton’s Special Reserve. At the same price, you will get more value in other Blanton bottles.