The 2021 Friends of the Trace Barrel Tasting and a Review of the 2020 Friends of the Trace Blanton’s Pick

After I attended a whiskey weekend at Buffalo Trace for Friends of the Trace in 2017, the authors of this blog, Mike Bonin, Robb Gibb, and I, decided that the Friends (colloquially referred to as FOTT) needed to have an annual single barrel select pick, and we pestered the powers that be at Buffalo Trace to make this happen. Our first pick in 2017 was an Eagle Rare pick selected for the FOTT by Harlan Wheatley. The second pick was a Buffalo Trace pick and I never picked up my bottle nor arranged for pickup. The third pick in 2019 was going to be a Weller 107 pick, but then they came out with Weller Full Proof and we opted to have our barrel bottled as Full Proof. Last year, in 2020, the FOTT did a Blanton’s pick. This year, I was able to attend the 2021 pick, and we sampled six different Eagle Rare barrels for our pick. The top two will be bottled. I voted for barrel D.

After the barrel pick, we had an EH Taylor tasting, Small Bath, Single Barrel, Rye, Batch Strength, and the super-elusive Warehouse C edition.

I will probably never see a Warehouse C bottle, as I can’t even get small batch regularly anymore, but I will say if I had an opportunity to buy it at retail I would. It was very smooth and silky, almost elegant, and is a ten year old honey barrel pick of the small batch. Really good.

While I was there I was able to pick up my 2020 Blanton’s pick. While I was not there last year, I am betting my fellow FOTT picked a great barrel.

Color is a typical medium amber for Blanton’s. Nice film and legs though on the swirl. On the nose are floral scents, caramel corn, and a hint of vanilla. On the palate though, this whiskey is big and rich compared to most Blanton’s – big vanilla, candied fruit, candied rye, a hint of roasted nuts, with a big baking spice finish. Finish is lingering. It tastes like its dump date – the third day of Christmas. Really bold flavors at only 93 proof.

But, that is the thing about single barrel bourbon, your mileage may vary. In any event, if you know a FOTT real well ask for a nip of this if they have it.

2 thoughts on “The 2021 Friends of the Trace Barrel Tasting and a Review of the 2020 Friends of the Trace Blanton’s Pick

  1. How do you become FOTT? I am a huge fan of all Buffalo Trace products and was able to visit the distillery in October of 2021 and plan on making it an annual thing. I am from Texas and Kentucky bourbon is by far my favorite. Thank you for your post, it would be awesome to be part of a barrel tasting and pick.
    George Cuellar III


  2. Hello,

    Thanks for your interest in Friends of the Trace, our program to recognize passionate fans of Buffalo Trace Distillery and Bourbon.

    We will be accepting sponsored nominations from January 1st through June 30th.

    Please feel free to reach out to us here at BTD Consumer Affairs at (866) 729-3722 or during the nomination period and we will be happy to share the application.



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