Blanton's Black (Japan)

It’s Monday Hawks! We all know what that means! That’s right, an excuse to have a glass of whiskey and a fine smoke to help relax from the beginning of the week. This week we take a look at our second installment of the Blanton’s series. Today is all about taking it Japanese, with Blanton’s Black!

Blanton’s Black and Red are distilled in Kentucky with the rest of the Blanton’s labels, but only distributed to the Japanese market. Even in Japan these two are harder to find. I spent a whole week in Tokyo and was only able to find two bottles of the Black and none of the Red. I got lucky a couple of weeks ago and won a raffle for a bottle of the Red.

So let’s dive right in to this delicious bottle of rare and forbidden juice.

Blanton’s Black comes with a minimum of 8 years aged, unlike the regular Blanton’s the US gets. The regular Blanton’s doesn’t come with any kind of age statement, but it’s speculated that it’s 6 years minimum.

The mash bill on this bourbon is Buffalo Trace’s mash bill #2, which has the higher rye content. However, BT doesn’t disclose the exact mash bill.

ABV on this variation of Blanton’s is 80 proof. The Red is 93 proof, just like the original. The Black, however is slightly watered down to help bourbon drinkers that don’t want the heat of the higher proof pours.

The color of this fine juice is a golden dark brown.

This bourbon is not particularly expensive at about 30-40 dollars USD in Japan. However, on the secondary market these bottles are like gold. Running somewhere between 200-300 dollars.

The nose on this bourbon is stunning. Floral notes with cherry and apple on the front, with caramel, vanilla, and oak on the back end.

The taste is smooth. A very easy drinker. Little to no burn on the tongue. Fruit and sweet on the front of the tongue make way for the oak of the 8 year aged juice. The oak is not overpowering, but it’s definitely noticeable.

The finish on this bottle was medium at best. It doesn’t linger. It’s tasty and makes a great sipping drink.

My final thoughts on this bourbon are that it’s great! One of my favorites! However, for the price on the secondary, it’s just not worth it. If you happen to be in Japan and find it, buy a bunch. I personally wouldn’t pay what people are asking for this bottle.

An interesting side note- Blanton’s in the US and Japan comes in the standard 750ml bottles. Blanton’s released to European market only come in 700ml bottles.

Blanton's Single Barrel

It’s whiskey Wednesday Hawks, and boy I’m excited for this one. Starting today and for the next few weeks I will be reviewing the Blanton’s bourbon line. A little background on Blanton’s bourbon…It comes from the Buffalo Trace distillery and was made by Master Distiller Elmer T. Lee in honor of Colonel Albert B. Blanton, who was previously a Master Distiller at Buffalo Trace. We will start this week off with the original Blanton’s Single Barrel bourbon, and then continue with the Gold, Special Reserve, Black, and Straight From The Barrel editions. There are obviously a few of the releases that I have left out, however I still haven’t had the luxury of getting my hands on any of these. They include the, Red, Silver, and various France releases.

Each bottle of Blanton’s is noticeable from a distance, due to its grenade shaped bottle, and horse and jockey on top. Each of the toppers has become collectable in its own way, as each of them has a different letter on it that spells B-L-A-N-T-O-N-S once you’ve collected all of them. Specialty companies have even made topper displays, such as the one pictured.

The mash bill on this bourbon is Buffalo Trace’s mash bill #2, which has the higher rye content. However, BT doesn’t disclose the exact mash bill.

ABV on this variation of Blanton’s is 93 proof. More than enough to get the job done, if you know what I mean.

The color sits at a dark amber with hints of red and burgundy.

At 49 to 65 dollars a bottle, Blanton’s is not the cheapest pour on the shelf, but it’s not insane either. The biggest issue you will have with this bourbon is finding a bottle. Not even 10 years ago I remember going in the store outside of Fort Campbell and literally wiping dust off bottles of Blanton’s. You could have found it anywhere at any time. Fast forward to present day and the bourbon boom is in full swing. I have now only been able to find three bottles of regular Blanton’s in two years, and two of those were behind the counter and I had to ask. Thankfully I have built up somewhat of a relationship with my local ABC employees.

The nose on this bourbon is great and one of the best I’ve nosed. Notes of citrus, clove, nutmeg, all spice and raisin. The spicy smell from the rye is not extremely overpowering, but reminds me of the holidays.

The taste is similar to the nose. It’s well balanced with citrus, spice, and vanilla notes. There is a sweeter caramel and toffee taste on the front, and a spicy cinnamon taste on the back.

The finish on this bottle was medium to long. Oak, toasted marshmallow and nutmeg wrap this pour up in a nice package.

My final thoughts on this bourbon are that if you can find a bottle of Blanton’s, give it a try. I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite bourbon, but it’s in my top 20 for sure. It’s definitely a great bourbon for parties and conversation starters. The bottle is cool, and I’ve seen a ton of crafty ways to reuse the bottles.

I didn’t require ice or water with this bourbon and tasted it using my Glencarin glass.