I bought this bottle in the same trip as last week’s Wathen’s and I can’t say it wasn’t because they use the same bottle. Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel is named for the Master Distiller Emeritus of the Buffalo Trace distillery – supposedly having selected the barrels for this bottling himself. This alone sets the expectations pretty high (especially considering the price), let’s see if it lives up.
– Made by Buffalo Trace
– 90 proof
As previously noted, the bottle is the same fat-upright rectangle of the Wathen’s bottle with slight indents on the side for grips. Elmer T. Lee, however accentuates the bourbon inside with a fully clear front label that contains on the the basic descriptive text. Through the contents, one can see a line-portrait of an old man – one who I would guess to be Mr. Lee himself.
The back label has only a very short description, telling us that Mr. Lee has fifty years of experience and that he selected the bourbon for this bottle. Nice and simple.
Sweet and smooth to the nose: grape juice, dried leaves, and a bit of pine resin. Very pleasant.
On the tongue, that pine resin with a bit less of the dried leaves and a different sweetness – almost a tart blackberry. ETL starts quiet, then bursts into a bright climax with that berriness, and smoothly descends into a medium strength vanilla finish.
I could imagine I’ll reach for this with some frequency given the low price and high availability, traits that don’t often accompany a bourbon of this quality. I’m not saying this is the best I’ve had, but it’s interesting enough, easy enough, and definitely tasty.