Blanton’s Bourbon Review (Acquistapace’s Barrel 39)

Earlier this year I was thrilled to have been asked to help with some barrel selections for Aquistapace’s Covington Supermarket.  Adam Acquistapace and I tasted our way through some barrel samples for private bottlings of Buffalo Trace, Eagle Rare and Blanton’s.  In the case of Blanton’s, we ended up choosing two barrels.  The first barrel was delivered a couple of months ago and flew off the shelves before I had a chance to review it.

Adam Acquistapace pouring some samples.

Luckily, Adam has stocked his newly opened store in Mandeville with the second barrel.  Since the store opened this past week, I thought I’d go ahead and post some tasting notes for it.  Like all Blanton’s releases, this whisky was matured in Buffalo Trace’s Warehouse H.  This particular barrel (no. 39) rested on Rick No. 14.

Onto the bourbon…

The nose is full of big butterscotch notes, along with hints of maraschino cherries, wood spice, and vanilla bean.  Taste-wise, there’s an initial light hit of spice followed by big waves of light brown sugar and butterscotch.  Some red fruit develops in the midpalate alongside spiced corn and sweet oak.  The medium-long finish leaves behind a sweet caramel followed by slightly astringent oak and a touch of mint.

A pour of Buffalo Trace bourbon from a barrel sample. For each private barrel, Buffalo Trace Distillery sends a sample from three different barrels for you to choose.

This was my favorite of the two Blanton’s barrels we picked.  I love the way the fruit, butterscotch and spice compliment each other here.  Acquistapace’s is selling these for $51.99 each. Great price if you ask me. At the rate folks are buying this bourbon, I don’t expect this to be on shelves long after Thanksgiving weekend.

Thanks to Adam for asking me to help him with these barrel selections.  As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Finding liquid gold in Nashville


My fiancee Carly and I took a weekend road trip to Nashville for a friend’s wedding.  I thought I’d take advantage of some of the liquor stores in the area.  My goal: to find bourbons that aren’t sold in the New Orleans market.

Our first stop was Frugal MacDougal.  This place was huge, but their bourbon selection wasn’t as expansive as I’d hoped.  As I slowly made my way down their bourbon aisle, nobody bothered to ask if I needed help.  I nabbed a bottle of Jim Beam 7 year old for about $15 .  I knew Beam made it, but it was the first time I saw it.  Can’t wait to compare this to the standard 4 year old Jim Beam.

Then it was off to Midtown Wine & Spirits.  The store was a bit more upscale than Frugal MacDougal’s.   After chatting it up with an employee (who coincidentally taught at my old university), I picked up a bottle of Four Roses Single Barrel Barrel Strength at her suggestion, which was an exclusive store bottling.  I don’t remember seeing a barrel strength Four Roses here in New Orleans.  The frustrating thing about Midtown was most of what I asked for I was told they had in stock in the back, but the owner didn’t let employees sell that stuff.   No, I didn’t ask for Pappy Van Winkle.  Strangely enough, where WL Weller 12 year is practically falling off the shelves here in New Orleans, Nashville is experiencing a shortage of sorts.  Apparently very hard to come by up there.

The last stop on my mini-adventure was Grand Cru Wine and Spirits.  It was a much smaller wine and spirits store than the previous two, but the most helpful.  The two gentlemen there were quite helpful.  In fact, one used to live here in New Orleans.   Small world, right?  I grabbed the last two bottles of Old Forester Single Barrel, one for my buddy Hank and one for myself.  I was offered a taste of their selection of Blanton’s.  Boy, it was delicious!  I’ve had a couple of different sips of Blanton’s before, but I liked this one enough to pick it up.  I also walked away with a bottle of Old Grand Dad 114 after being offered a taste.

Grand Cru was by far the place I’d recommend people going to, if you’re not sure what you’re looking for.  The folks at Midtown were also pretty knowledgable.  All in all it was a pretty successful trip in terms of buying bourbon.  Next time, I’d like to hit some of the distilleries.  All the bourbons mentioned will be reviewed here on at some point in the future.  I can’t wait.