Named after Master Distiller Emeritus Elmer T. Lee at the Buffalo Trace Distillery, this American whiskey is hand selected and bottled to the taste and standards which were set forth by Elmer T. Lee. He was often credited with starting the revival of single barrel bourbons in the 1980s while Master Distiller of the George T. Stagg Distillery, now known as Buffalo Trace. Even after his retirement in 1985, he still visited the distillery weekly to select the barrels that would be bottled for his self-named Elmer T. Lee bourbon. He continued that practice until his passing in 2013 at the age of 93. This Kentucky bourbon is a perfectly balanced and rich whiskey, as declared by the man who knew how great bourbon should taste. Elmer was responsible for bringing Blanton’s to market and was eventually honored by Buffalo Trace Distillery with this single barrel bourbon.
The bourbon itself is 90 proof, and shares its mash recipe with such stalwarts as Blanton’s, Rock Hill Farms, Ancient Age, and Hancock’s Reserve. Elmer T. Lee bourbon features an appearance of golden amber. It’s aroma is that of strong vanilla and sweet caramel which are followed by light berries, apricot, and peaches. There is a bit of oak on the tail end.
Flavors of maple syrup and caramel are the stories on the tip on the tongue. Buffalo Trace has coaxed the sweetness from the barrel very well here. There is a rush of vanilla on the edges of the palate here, with floral notes as well. Underlying all of that is a the crisp, clear spring water mouth feel that marks so many of Buffalo Trace’s premium offerings.
A finish that is long and sweet; light barrel flavors assert themselves near the end with a pleasing mix of oak and tannins, with a burnt sugar and caramel tinge.
The nose brings notes of clove, vanilla, and old leather. The flavor balances fruit, honey and vanilla with a light spiciness. A long and warm finish.
Wine Enthusiast rating: 91
“An elegant, complex whiskey. The flavors are nice and tight.”
5 Stars – Highest Recommendation – “A fitting liquid tribute to a genuinely great whiskey man and a true pioneer.” –Spirit Journal/June 2014