Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel Bourbon

Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is a 90 proof, Buffalo Trace mash bill #2 gem of a whiskey.  As its name implies it is a single barrel bourbon, selected from barrels between 8 and 14 years old.  Its reputation as a no-frills, great value bourbon has made it very difficult to find in the wild.

ETL is named for the late bourbon legend, Mr. Elmer T. Lee, famous for releasing the first commercially available single barrel bourbon, Blanton's, The Original Single Barrel Bourbon Whiskey, in 1984.  In doing so, he advanced the bourbon industry during its days of darkness.

Elmer T. Lee was born and raised on a tobacco farm near Frankfort, Kentucky. Immediately following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps.  For several years, he served as a radar bombardier aboard a B-29 Superfortress stationed on Guam, and he flew missions against the Japanese until the war’s end.

He went home to Kentucky in 1946 and he finished his engineering degree at UK with honors in 1949. He started working at the George T. Stagg Distillery in September 1949 when Col. Blanton was Distillery President.

In 1969, Lee became “plant manager/master distiller.”  ETL acknowledges that he was a “figurehead” master distiller, although he did personally select the barrels to be released as Blanton’s, a brand that the distillery marketed aggressively to the Japanese market... 

Following his retirement in 1985, he regularly visited the distillery (which became Buffalo Trace in 1992) on Tuesdays to taste and select bourbon to be bottled as Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.
ETL was inducted into the Bourbon Hall of Fame in 2001.  He died on July 19, 2013.  His legend lives on in this outstanding bourbon.

Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel

Buffalo Trace Distillery
90 proof
$34 at Green's Beverages in Columbia, SC

Color: Bright amber.

Nose:  The nose is downright delicious with sweet brown sugar, toasted oak barrel, and a prominent scent of fresh mint.

Tasting NotesDespite the higher rye mash bill #2, ETL is sweet up front with honey, caramel, light oak, more brown sugar and maple.  The sweetness is followed by a tight, dry spice with cinnamon, tobacco, and a hint of citrus to balance it out.    

Overall: A.  Elmer T. Lee is a better single barrel bourbon than Blanton's, the original single barrel bourbon that Mr. Lee named for his first boss.  What else is there to say (other than good luck finding it)!

Peer reviews:

Sippn Corn

Whiskey Lately