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Blanton’s Single Barrel vs Special Reserve: Which Wins?

Discover the differences between Blanton’s Single Barrel vs Blanton’s Special Reserve in this comparison and decide which Bourbon is better for You!

Blanton’s Single Barrel

NoseVanilla, caramel, oak, old leather
PalateCreamy vanilla, honeyed, baking spice, oak
FinishLong, honey, brown sugar, caramel
Alcohol content93 proof (46.5% ABV)
How to drinkNeat
Similar toEagle Rare, Weller Antique

Nose is rich in honey and caramel, with an old leather hint and a whiff of oak coming behind.

On the palate, Blanton’s offers traditional bourbon flavors, is rich in butterscotch, vanilla and moderate rye spice only than richer and creamier than your typical bourbon.

The Blanton’s Single Barrel is just so smooth with the right amount of sweetness and oak making a super easy yet complex and interesting pour.

The finish is long, sweet and pleasantly warm with a bit of a NyQuil note coming late to the party.

Blanton’s (Alternatives) is worth the hype, this is a super smooth and perfectly balanced bourbon with a creamy body making an entirely rewarding sipper; the best of all is that it is still reasonably priced and widely available.

Blanton’s Single Barrel drinks beautifully neat with no need to add water or ice to it.

There are a few facts worth knowing about Blanton’s Single Barrel:

  • Mash bill is undisclosed but apparently carries 15% rye in the mash.
  • Blanton’s Single Barrel does not have an age statement but is typically aged for 6 to 8 years.
  • Named “liquid gold” in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible.
  • Earned the Chairman’s Trophy as the world’s best bourbon at the Ultimate Spirits Challenge in 2012 and 2013, scoring three points higher than Pappy Van Winkle’s 23 Year Old Bourbon in 2012 and two points higher than Pappy Van Winkle’s 20 Year Old Bourbon in 2013.
  • Crafted at the Buffalo Trace Distillery along Pappy, Weller, Eagle Rare, EH Taylor, Stagg, Sazerac Rye among others.

Blanton’s Special Reserve

NoseCaramel, prunes, banana
PalateCaramel, vanilla, banana, baking spice
FinishShort, tobacco, oak spice
Alcohol content80 proof (40% ABV)
How to drinkNeat
Similar toStraight from the Barrel

Special Reserve kicks-off with a pleasant burnt butterscotch note making you expect something great.

On the palate it feels a bit thin and watery providing a poor mouthfeel. It shows some vanilla and a very faint spicy notes that never develops.

The finish is short, with a bit of tobacco and a bitter note of oak spice.

It is smooth, perhaps too smooth as it shows the low proof at which it was bottled.

Overall, the Blanton’s Special Reserve is not bad but it does not taste as a bourbon at this price point should taste; it tastes like a way cheaper bottle, TBH.

It pretty much tastes like a watered-down Buffalo Trace.

There is one fact worth knowing about the Blanton’s Special Reserve:

  • This bourbon is hard to find in the United States as its only available in select international markets.

Single Barrel vs Special Reserve: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

Blanton’s Original Single Barrel$130
Blanton’s Special Reserve$290

Blanton’s Single Barrel vs Special Reserve: Which is better?

Single Barrel is the best bourbon for the “normal wallet

  • The Single Barrel is worth trying and still affordable.
  • It offers traditional bourbon flavors, with a bit more of spice, just that better in every way making a very nice pour.
  • Special Reserve is simply not good, this is a thin and watered-down dram that tastes like something several dollars cheaper.

If you want to learn more about this brand read my post Discover the Best Blanton’s where I rank every bottle.

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