Elmer T Lee Bourbon

Elmer T Lee Single Barrel Bourbon – Review

Elmer T Lee BottleBuffalo Trace makes a number of products with their #2 Bourbon mash. This mash is a little higher rye content than their #1, but the rye actually isn’t too assertive. #2 mash is thought to be around 13-15% rye and the #1 is somewhere just south of 10%, so not a huge flavor difference. It seems just a little more spice than the other branch of products. These Bourbons are said to age around 8-10 years, but have different flavor profiles. Difference between these drinks basically are the warehouse location and barrel selection. You would think with the same distillate, they would be pretty similar, but they’re surprisingly distinct. Unique, but basically members of the same family.

Elmer T Lee is my first stop on the #2 mash train future stops include Blanton’s, Rock Hill Farms, Hancock’s President’s Reserve, and Ancient Ancient Age 10 Star.

Elmer T Lee Background

Lee started with the company in 1949 as a maintenance engineer. The year after he retired, Buffalo Trace launched this Bourbon in 1986. Lee agreed they could use his name as long as he could personally selected the barrels. That sounds like a nice retirement. Lee continued to do so into his 90’s and there appears to be a plan in place to continue his legacy. He passed away last year at 93.

Lee’s favorite warehouses at Buffalo Trace are I and K and that’s where we generally get Elmer T Lee. This compares to Blanton’s, which come from Albert Blanton’s favorite Warehouse H, for example. Lee’s favorite drink is Elmer T Lee with 7 UP on ice, but here we’ll drink it neat.


No age statement, but said to be aged 8-10 years. Rumored to use Buffalo Trace Mash #2 which is thought to be about 13-15% rye. It’s bottled at 45%. MSRP – $34.99 (2016 Price)


Fruity with apple cider and honey. Caramel. Vanilla. Woody oak. I got a little bread/biscuit.


Toasted oak, caramel. Rich vanilla. Some dark sugars – toffee maybe with brown sugar. Nice rye spice. Sweetness is there, but balanced. Finish I get more toasted oak and vanilla with some mild alcohol. Alcohol seems is on the edge of being solvent-like. Pretty nice overall.


This is great. I go back and forth a bit with Elmer T Lee and Blanton’s. Seems more flavorful, but Blanton’s seems more refined and lack the hint of fusel alcohol I get here. Right now I’d give Blanton’s an edge, but that could change with my mood. Very well done with some character, but no rough edges. As you pour glass after glass, the bourbon reveals a smiling Elmer T Lee from the inside. If I were in this bottle, I’d be smiling too. A great bourbon.

My price on this was $34, which seems a great deal for such a great whiskey. For the price, buy some and grab an extra to enjoy after that’s gone.

Elmer T Lee Rating

Buy Again – 4.0/5.0 Rating

(My 5 point scale: Pass, Try a Glass, Buy a Bottle, Buy Again, Shut Up and Take My Money – Bottle price is taken into consideration for recommendations.)

Comments, corrections, suggestions?

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