Can we all agree that silly as it may be, price and a fancy bottle do have an effect on the perception of a whiskey? Bourbon aficionados know that, no matter how much they might enjoy a glass of Basil Hayden's now and then, it is basically a slightly more refined version of Old Grand Dad. A diluted and probably over-priced version, but one that is suitable for a beginners palate and is priced at a point where a person can feel like they are indulging a little bit when they buy it. It's an introductory bourbon. Soft, refined and delicate.
Speaking of introductory bourbons, Blanton's Special Reserve is the subject of tonight's post. It is not available in the US market. If it were, I think it would compete on the same footing as Basil Hayden's. It is an entry-level bourbon much in the same way that Basil Hayden's Bourbon is. It's light and delicate to appeal to a beginner's palate. It is also giftable to as it comes in a fancy bottle so you can gift it to a beginner and they will feel like you really bought them something nice. At least if you are in the market where it is sold.
When I saw that there was a Blanton's that was 40% ABV, I didn't think it would be an amazing bourbon. I mostly bought it because it seemed silly not to when I was buying the other two non-US expressions. I was correct, this isn't the most amazing Blanton's expression out there, but after tasting it, at least I think I now know why it exists and where it fits in the marketplace.
Blanton's Special Reserve
Purchase Info: £4.72 for a 3 cl bottle at MasterofMalt.com ($6.65 for a roughly one-ounce bottle at today's conversion rate. A full bottle sells for about $50.)
Detail: 40% ABV.
Nose: Caramel, peppermint, and dried corn.
Mouth: Delicate sweet floral flavors with some spice. Cinnamon and mint.
Finish: Floral and quick.
Thoughts: This is fine. It's nothing to write home about. It certainly isn't worth paying international shipping for. My wife rated it meh. I rated it as a low-level like but not a good value so I'm going with her rating on this. For my tastes, I'm pretty ok with this one not being sold in the US.
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