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Elmer T. Lee vs Rock Hill Farms: Discover the Better!

Discover the differences between Elmer T. Lee vs Rock Hill Farms in this in-depth comparison and decide which bourbon is better for You!

Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel

elmer-t-lee
NoseFloral, honey, oak, baking spice
PalateVanilla, oak, cherry
FinishCaramel, vanilla, spice
Alcohol content90 proof (45% ABV)
How to drinkNeat
Similar toE.H. Taylor, Weller 12, Stagg Jr.

Elmer T. Lee (Alternatives) is made at the Buffalo Trace Distillery using the same mash as Blanton’s.

The difference lies in Blanton’s being aged in the best location within the distillery and being bottled at a slightly higher proof (93 vs 90).

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 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 with several better Single Barrel Bourbons available at a discount.

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.
  • Mash bill is unknown.
  • Double Gold Medal at the 2020 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
  • Elmer T. Lee is a former Master Distiller at Buffalo Trace.
  • Lee created the first single barrel bourbon with the release of Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon.

Rock Hill Farms Single Barrel

rock-hill-farms-bourbon
NoseBaked apple, vanilla, caramel, cinnamon
PalateOak, ripe fruit, baking spice, caramel, brown sugar
FinishRye spice, cherry, oak
Alcohol content100 proof (50% ABV)
How to drinkAdd water
Similar toCaribou Crossing, Blanton’s Gold

Nose brings baked apples and vanilla at first, followed by caramel and a touch of cinnamon.

On the palate, Rock Hill Farms has a buttery feel as the texture feels creamy. Flavor hits with oak, ripe fruit and baking spice, followed by caramel and brown sugar. Not overly sweet, though, as it’s nicely balanced.

The finish is long and remarkably smooth for a 100 proof dram yet provides a nice hug on the way down. It hits with rye spice, but nothing crazy, along a Red Hots note and subtle charred oak.

It drinks beautifully as is, no need to add water nor ice as it doesn’t burn making it entirely satisfying.

This bourbon is another offspring of the Buffalo Trace Distillery, not nearly as famous as other special releases such as Pappy, Weller, Blanton’s but one well worth giving a shot.

Rock Hill has the flavors and body that you expect from a premium bourbon, with nothing off-putting or harsh at 100 proof making it a solid offering and must try for bourbon aficionados.

Pile on it if you can find it at MSRP.

There are a few facts worth knowing about Rock Hills Farm:

  • No age statement.
  • Drawn from a single barrel.

What do Elmer T. Lee and Rock Hill Farms have in common?

They are made using the same mash bill

Besides being single barrels and having similar aging lengths, both bourbons are made from the same mash bill comprised of around 12 to 15% rye.

Are Elmer T. Lee and Rock Hill Farms the same bourbon?

Elmer T. Lee and Rock Hill are bottled at different proof

ETL is bottled at 90 proof while the RHF at 100 proof, meaning the latter suffered less water dilution before bottling; this provides a more tasty and more bodied bourbon.

There are also differences in barrel management as these bourbons are aged in different locations within the Buffalo Trace Distillery providing enough differences between them.

Elmer T. Lee vs Rock Hill Farms: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

BourbonPrice
Elmer T. Lee$175
Rock Hill Farms$220

Elmer T. Lee vs Rock Hill Farms: Which is better?

Rock Hills is a better bourbon than Elmer T. Lee

WhiskeyElmer T. LeeRock Hill Farms
Nose
Body
Palate
Finish
Value
  • Same mash, similar aging but the higher proof produced a more bodied and tastier bourbon yet quite smooth making a better deal than Elmer T. Lee that feels somewhat thin.
  • Rock Hills is a nice bourbon, with the right level of warmth and nothing harsh making a nice thing to add to the cabinet.

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