Elmer T Lee Single Barrel

For my next review I decided to once again review a bourbon and this time it is the Elmer T Lee Single Barrel. This was for two reasons. The first, to remember the man behind the whiskey (the whiskey is named after Master Distiller Emeritus Elmer T. Lee. This whiskey is hand selected and bottled to the taste and standards of Elmer T. Lee himself) who recently passed away (see In Memory of Elmer T. Lee 1919-2013). And secondly as Buffalo Trace Distillery also recently announced its designation as a national historic landmark (read story here).

Elmer T Lee_The Smoky DramWhisky: Elmer T Lee Single Barrel, 45% ABV (Cost around R450)

Region: Kentucky, USA

Style: Bourbon

 Age: NAS

Kentucky born and bred, Elmer joined the Distillery as a maintenance engineer in 1949.  Quickly rising to Plant Engineer, then Plant Superintendent and eventually the shared title of Plant Manager and Master Distiller, Elmer oversaw much of the Distillery’s modernization and growth up until his retirement in 1985. Although Elmer retired in 1985, he never really left, and every Tuesday Elmer would make his rounds at the Distillery in his trademark cap signing bottles, posters and other memorabilia. Elmer’s finest achievement was arguably in 1984 with the introduction of Blanton’s, the world’s first Single Barrel Bourbon, which was bottled from unblended, individual barrels of the best aged Kentucky whiskey available. Not long thereafter, Elmer himself was honoured with his own single-barrel namesake.

The Buffalo Trace distillery has been officially labelled a National Historic Landmark in America, joining the ranks of The White House and the Empire State Building. Over its 240 year history Buffalo Trace Distillery has been privileged to win many awards but its designation as a United States National Historic Landmark is surely the crowning achievement. An award which is only bestowed to 2,577 other properties in the country.

Colour: Deep gold tending to burnished and has very many thick legs.

Nose: Lovely strong spicy nose (cloves, cinnamon and wood spice) that are complimented by a soft vanilla creaminess, pleasingly florally fresh fruitiness (pears, plums hints of citrus fruits), caramel toffees and honeysuckle.

Palate: Very smooth and sweet, with vanilla, honeysuckle, flowery/nectar sweetness and caramel toffee initially upfront that then evolves into a light spiciness (with slight sweet spicy burn on tip of tongue), citrus fruits and oak/wood characters .

Finish: Fairly long and warm with a soft and gentle sweet spiciness that lingers till the end. The end for me is a vanilla cream sweetness.

Overall: For me this is an elegant and balanced bourbon. Love the balance and play between the spiciness and sweetness. It is easy drinking that yet has a beautiful richness to it that makes you pour another dram before you even realise it.

My Score: 83

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2 thoughts on “Elmer T Lee Single Barrel

    • Thanks Peter.

      I find similarities between the two, such as the nice balance between the sweetness and the spiciness and both are easy and smooth drinking. On the Woodford I do get a more biscuity and cocoa feel about it?

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