Review #171 Elmer T. Lee Sour Mash Single Barrel Bourbon


Distillery: Buffalo Trace

Proof: 90

Age: NAS (Rumored ~10+ years)

Mashbill: Undisclosed (BT #2 High Rye)


BACKGROUND: Elmer T. Lee needs no introduction but we'll shed some light on the history of this highly sought after whiskey. Elmer T. Lee was a longtime employee and the first master distiller at the historic Buffalo Trace distillery. However, it didn't start off with so great for Mr. Lee. When he first went to Buffalo Trace in 1949 after serving in World War II as a Radar Bombardier, he was told "Son, we're not hiring any hands today" by the iconic, then president of the distiller, Col. Albert B. Blanton. Elmer quickly climbed the ladder at Buffalo Trace even serving as both the Plan Manager and Master Distillery. Elmer oversew much of the distillery's modernization and growth throughout his career until he retired in 1985. Elmer was actually the one who brought "the world's first single barrel bourbon" to market in 1984 named after the one and only, Albert B. Blanton. In 1986, Buffalo Trace honored the recently retired master distiller by bringing to market a new single barrel bourbon named after Elmer himself. Today, Elmer T. Lee is released on an incredibly limited basis throughout the year usually in January, April, and October.

NOSE: The nose is very sweet with scents of maple, butterscotch, light honey, and some clove. It is on the lighter side but that's understandable for a 90 proof whiskey. It's a little underwhelming and light given the hype behind it but it's still a nice nose. (21/25)


PALATE: The palate absolutely makes up for what the nose lacks. Still on the sweeter side with tons of creamy vanilla ice cream, maple syrup, burnt caramel, and smooth oak reminding us of creme brûlée. Overall the palate is absolutely fantastic, sweet, and oh so smooth. There is a surprising lack of spice for the high rye mashbill. (37/40)

FINISH: A smooth and very long finish that is slightly dry with notes of all-spice, aged oak, some tobacco, and cracked pepper. It is really long and rounds out the whiskey. (23/25)

VALUE: With a SRP of $40 this is one of the BEST BUYS out there. Unfortunately witht he way the market is, Elmer T. Lee often goes for $300+. I would pay up to $90 (9/10)

Overall: 90/100

FINAL THOUGHTS: Elmer T. Lee is an absolutely delicious bourbon whiskey that is very sweet and smooth. It is the perfect way to celebrate a special occasion. We would recommend this whiskey to anyone at everyone at $100 or less!

Similar & Slightly Better Whiskey: Michter's Toasted Barrel Bourbon

Similar & Equal Whiskey: Weller 12

Similar & Slightly Worse Whiskey: Blanton's Gold

Tell us what you think and give us some feedback!

Scoring Legend:

96-100: The perfect dram, juice of the gods

90-95: Near perfect, truly incredible whiskey

85-89: Amazing whiskey, will always try to keep a backup bottle of this

80-84: Very good, some minor flaws here or there

75-79: Good, quite enjoyable to drink, Will try and keep a bottle on the shelf

70-74: Solid, wouldn’t go out of my way to get this

60-69: Decent, would offer this up to non whiskey drinkers

50-59: Not my cup of tea

Below 50: Give away

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