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Eagle Rare Bourbon vs Blanton’s: Which is Better? (2022)

Last Updated on September 21, 2022 by Lydia Martin

Eagle Rare and Blanton’s bourbons are some of the many brands from the Buffalo Trace Distillery, so you’ll often find them pitted against the other.

If you’re planning to stop by the historic distillery to pick up a bottle for a special evening, you’re in luck — consider this the best article to help you make an informed decision.

Here’s everything you need to know in today’s Battle of the Bourbons: Eagle Rare Bourbon vs Blanton’s.

Eagle Rare & Blanton’s Bourbon Compared

Eagle Rare and Blanton’s Bourbon with diamond decanter

While Eagle Rare and Blanton’s technically come from the same distillery, assuming they’re “basically the same spirit” would be a mistake.

Their main difference is the mash bills used.

Buffalo Trace does not specifically disclose the exact ingredients they use for their brands, but we know that Blanton’s uses Mash # 2 (a high rye mash bill), while Eagle Rare is made with Mash # 1 (a low rye mash bill).

If you’ve been a constant reader of our blog, you know that more rye in the alcohol equates to a spicier bourbon. To attest to that, Blanton’s is bolder and spicier than the more mellow Eagle Rare.

How They Differ

History & Origin

Did you know that you have Blanton’s to thank for all the single barrel expressions available today?

It became the first single barrel release in 1984 and was created by legendary Master Distiller Elmer T. Lee. It was released in honor of Albert B. Blanton, one of Buffalo Trace’s early leaders.

On the other hand, Eagle Rare was first released in 1975 by then Master Distiller Charles L. Beam. It is one of the last major bourbon brands released before the “small-batch” craze took the industry by storm.

Since its inception, Eagle Rare has won numerous awards, such as a string of gold and double gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competitions between 2005 and 2010.

Production & Distillation Process

Both bourbons are distilled and produced at the historic Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfurt, Kentucky.

Eagle Rare used to be marketed as a single barrel, but the company dropped that claim in 2005 when they switched to an automated bottling system (as there is always the chance that different barrels might mix). [1]

On the other hand, Blanton’s is a single-barrel bourbon. The company manually hand-picks the bottles for quality and consistency before bottling.

Maturation Process

alcohol barrels

Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon comes from casks aged inside the Buffalo Trace’s Warehouse H, the only metal-clad warehouse in the location.

Since the barrels are housed in a metal warehouse, it allows for faster heat transfer than those traditionally made from brick (thus, faster aging).

On the other hand, Eagle Rare is matured inside barrels with a No. 4 Char, otherwise known as the “alligator char.”

This means that the insides of the barrels are exposed to open flames until they resemble the ridges found in an alligator’s back.

Main Ingredients

Buffalo Trace does not specifically disclose the grain bills used for their whiskeys.

However, we know that Blanton’s uses their Mash # 2, a high rye mash bill, while Eagle Rare is made with their Mash # 1, a low rye mash bill.

A bottle of Blanton’s is at 93 proof and Eagle Rare is bottled at 90 proof.

Official Age Statement

Eagle Rare is sold under three age statements: 10-year-old, 17-year-old, and the ultra-rare Double Eagle Very Rare, with an age statement of two decades and presented in a luxurious silver box and crystal decanter.

Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon carries no age statement but is typically matured for six to eight years.

Tasting Notes:

Eagle Rare

Eagle Rare bottle on rock
  • Palate: Eagle Rare has a mellow and buttery flavor. The whiskey is rife with vanilla, oak, orange peel, and cherry.
  • Nose: The whiskey has a fresh and citrusy aroma, with undertones of toasted oak, honey, and maple syrup.
  • Color: The whiskey has a dark caramel color.
  • Finish: It has a sweet, lengthy finish with cinnamon, oak, and baking spice notes.

Blanton’s Single Barrel

Blanton's bottle
  • Palate: Since Blanton’s is a single barrel, expect there to be a difference in bottles depending on the barrels they belong to. The high rye content of Mash # 2 takes center stage, as the whiskey is laced with fine spices. There is also a bit of creamy vanilla, cherry, and slight wood tones.
  • Nose: The whiskey has oak, butterscotch, and rye spice aromas.
  • Color: The whiskey has a rich amber color.
  • Finish: It has a smooth and lengthy finish, rife with honey, caramel, brown sugar, and rye spice flavors.

Price Point & Value

Considering how difficult it is to get hold of both Blanton’s and Eagle Rare, if you get the bottles at their MSRP, consider yourself lucky — they’re well worth the money. [2]

We’ve heard horror stories where Eagle Rare was priced north of $100, and Blanton’s could only be purchased in high-end bars.

Ownership & Distillery

Distillery Production Warehouse

Both Blanton’s and Eagle Rare are produced and distilled at Buffalo Trace, one of the oldest surviving distilleries in the country.

Blanton’s is owned by Age International, Inc., a marketing and sales company that produces spirits. But who makes Blanton’s bourbon?

Eagle Rare is owned by The Sazerac Company, a family-owned producer and importer of alcoholic beverages based in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Price Comparison Chart

BrandSizeAlcohol ProofAverage Price
(Drizly)
Eagle Rare 10 Year Bourbon750ml45Around $50
Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon750ml46.5Around $130

FAQs

Which is harder to find, Eagle Rare or Blanton’s?

Both Eagle Rare and Blanton’s are pretty rare finds in the liquor store, but we have to say that Blanton’s is just a tad more difficult to come by. This is mainly because it’s a single barrel.

Is Eagle Rare better for sipping than Blanton’s?

No, Eagle Rare isn’t better for sipping than Blanton’s. Although it is a good sipping bourbon, we find that Blanton’s rich profile translates to a better sipper. Eagle Rare’s more mellow flavor makes it the better bottle for bourbon cocktails.

Which is better for beginners, Blanton’s or Eagle Rare?

Eagle Rare is a better option for beginners than Blanton’s. Eagle Rare has a sweet quality, which beginners would easily gravitate towards. On the other hand, Blanton’s is bolder and spicier, which might take some time to get used to.

In Summary

In today’s Battle of the Bourbons, we have to give this round to Blanton’s.

Don’t get us wrong, we love Eagle Rare — it’s top-shelf quality. But when faced with a bourbon beast like Blanton’s, it might as well be a kitty cat.

We love how Blanton’s offers something different for each palate. It can be rich and sweet for you, spicy for your friend, and both for someone else. It’s also citrusy and syrupy, with plenty of smoked oak for more depth.

If you don’t believe how good Blanton’s is, take Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible’s word for it — he dubbed it as “liquid gold.”

References:

  1. https://www.pastemagazine.com/drink/whiskey/best-single-barrel-bourbon-definition-prices/
  2. https://www.gearpatrol.com/food/drinks/a36212256/bourbon-whiskey-rising-prices/

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