Single Barrel Test
Elmer T Lee Single Barrel Bourbon
The bourbon category has exploded in recent years, with both emerging and established distilleries contributing. Several brands and whole distilleries have been consolidated reorganized or resurrected amidst the renaissance. Buffalo Trace has been one of the more active names. A massive distillery, the company is able to produce millions of gallons of whiskey of over 20 distinct brands each year. Included in this monolithic company are notables such as Pappy Van Winkle, W. L. Weller, and Blanton’s. We received a bottle of one of the lesser known brands, Elmer T. Lee, and were eager to give it a try.
Elmer T. Lee refers to one of the master distillers at Buffalo Trace. With so many brands under one umbrella at Buffalo Trace, it can be hard figure out the differences between labels. However, Elmer T Lee is a single barrel bourbon, and this sets it apart right away. Since each bottle contains bourbon aged in a single barrel, each bottle should have a little variation. We can also expect a bit more distinctive flavor, since the whiskey hasn’t been blended with other barrels to smooth out any rough edges. Nevertheless, Elmer T Lee is not barrel-proof, so we might not get as punctuated of a tasting experience as if it were strait from the barrel.
Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel Bourbon
Eyes: Dark amber color, resembling a fresh ice tea. Medium texture in the glass.
Nose: The nose was a combination of dry aromars, including leather and sawdust, along with tart fruit, something like a fresh cut apricot.
Taste: The initial taste was honey sweet, but that was quickly overtaken by a wave of black pepper heat. Underneath the pepper is a layer of caramel.
Finish: The dry spice gives way to a soft, sweet vanilla flavored exit.
This bourbon was hard to categorize. Smooth, yet not without a kick. The palate has sweetness, yet the black pepper wave that we tasted suggested the mash bill included a good portion of rye. The overall experience was a bit on the dry side for our tastes, yet we still found the whiskey to be pleasant and complex enough to come back to. As time passed, we tasted more of the caramel and sweet toffee flavors, so we can conclude this bourbon has a few more layers to it. With a lower price point, Elmer T. Lee is a solid single barrel value. Unfortunately, it might be a little hard to find these days, as the massive Buffalo Trace distillery continues to evolve and shift the mix of brands it sells.