Review #230 Elmer T. Lee


Distillery: Buffalo Trace

Proof: 90

Age: NAS

Mashbill: N/A (Mashbill #2 ~15% rye)


BACKGROUND: Elmer T. Lee was one of the true legends of the Kentucky Bourbon world. He worked as a master distiller for Buffalo Trace for 36 years before retiring in 1985 and eventually passing in 2013. Lee was most known for being the first to mass produce single barrel bourbon, some of you may have heard of his most famous expression, Blantons.


NOSE: The epitome of a sweet, balanced nose. As you raise the glass to your nose, you are welcomed with delicious notes of cream, fresh bread, baked sweets, and vanilla. As the sweets dance around your senses, notes of coconut, and light oak start to intermingle with the rest. (24/25)


PALATE: A light mouthfeel, thin and oily, giving a very smooth experience from the first sip. ETL remarkably displays all the classic flavors of a good whiskey. Notes of aged oak, tobacco, brown sugar, and vanilla all coat your mouth in an incredibly balanced fashion. Along with the classic notes, fruity notes of strawberry and cherry show at the beginning and end with very subtle notes giving a unique delicious twist. (36/40)


FINISH: Every hero has its achilles heel, and although the bar is quite high for ETL, the finish is the crutch. First, very light notes of vanilla and oak arise quite mildly. As the pour opens up very light fruity flavors show, but only for a blink. (22/25)


VALUE: For $40 you can't go wrong with ETL, but finding it at that price is a battle of its own. Unfortunately I have seen these bottles on secondary for as high as $300 which is too expensive for any bourbon in our opinion. (8/10)

Overall: 90/100

FINAL THOUGHTS: ETL is by far one of the best sour mash whiskeys on the market, which is only right being that it honors one of the men who build Buffalo Trace to where they are today. If you find it under $100 BUY, if you see it at a bar for under $30, jump on that too!


Similar & Slightly Better Whiskey: Pappy Van Winkle 12

Similar & Equal Whiskey: Blantons Gold

Similar & Slightly Worse Whiskey: Weller 12


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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