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Blanton’s vs Elmer T. Lee: Which Wins?

Discover the differences between Blanton’s vs Elmer T. Lee in this in-depth 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, E.H. Taylor

Nose is sweet, with an old leather hint and a tad of oak.

On the palate, Blanton’s offers traditional bourbon flavors, is rich in butterscotch, vanilla and rye spice only than richer and creamier as it is full-bodied.

Blanton’s Single Barrel (Alternatives) is remarkably smooth with the right amount of sweetness making a super easy yet deep and interesting pour.

The finish is long, sweet and pleasantly warm with a bit of NyQuil on the tail but is not a deal-breaker.

Blanton’s is worth the hype, this is a super smooth and perfectly balanced bourbon with a nice buttery body making an entirely satisfying sipper.

Best way of drinking the Blanton’s is neat, if you want it chilled add a large ice ball or use a set of whiskey stones as you don’t want to water it down.

Consider further options by reading my roundup containing the best Single Barrel Bourbon to buy.

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

  • Blanton’s Single Barrel does not have an age statement but is typically aged for 6 to 8 years.
  • Earned the Double Gold Medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2012.
  • 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.

Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel

NoseFloral, honey, oak, baking spice
PalateVanilla, oak, cherry
FinishCaramel, vanilla, spice
Alcohol content90 proof (45% ABV)
How to drinkNeat
Similar toE.H. Taylor, Rock Hill Farms, Stagg Jr.

The nose is sweet, with a pleasant floral note, baking spice and a whiff of ethanol that fades as you let it breathe.

On the palate, the Elmer T. Lee feels a bit thin lacking in body. Flavor is smooth and sweet, offering traditional bourbon flavors such as vanilla, cherry and fruity notes with a subtle oak note.

The finish has lingering cinnamon spice, caramel, vanilla and subtle oak char with almost no burn making it a very easy sipper.

Elmer T. Lee (Similar Bourbons) is smooth all the way through to the finish, with traditional bourbon notes of vanilla, cherry and caramel, although lacking in body which kinda comes as a surprise.

The low proof (90) is also a disappointment making me think that Elmer T. Lee is a bit over-hyped.

If you can find it at MSRP (+/- $60) is OK but is not worth paying secondary market prices for it. Is just not that good.

There are a few facts worth knowing about the Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel:

  • It has no age statement, but assumed the average age is 6.
  • Double Gold Medal at the 2020 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
  • Elmer T. Lee is a former Master Distiller.

What do Blanton’s and Elmer T. Lee have in common?

Crafted at the same distillery using the mash

Blanton’s and Elmer T. Lee are crafted at the Buffalo Trace Distillery using the same mash bill and are aged for around the same length.

Elmer T. Lee was the man who created the first Single Barrel Bourbon which was… Blanton’s!

Are Blanton’s and Elmer T. Lee the same bourbon?

Proof and barrel management makes them different

Blanton’s is bottled at a higher proof than Elmer T. Lee (93 vs 90) and Blanton’s barrels are aged in the mythical warehouse H which Colonel Blanton discovered to be the best place to age whiskey.

Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

Blanton’s Single Barrel$130
Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel$187

Blanton’s vs Elmer T. Lee: Which is better?

Blanton’s additional proof makes it better

  • The additional proof adds body and depth to the Blanton’s making it taste better than the Elmer T. Lee which feels somewhat weak.
  • Not the same bourbon but very similar as they are made from the same mash and at the same distillery.
  • Blanton’s delivers a nice experience from nose to finish making the best Bourbon for the normal wallet.