Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel is one of the best bourbons out there if you can manage to find a bottle at retail. The man behind the brand, and on the sticker, was a former distiller for Buffalo Trace (when they were still Stagg) and created the first single barrel bourbon. Buffalo Trace is honoring Elmer T. Lee on what would have been his 100th birthday with a 100-proof commemorative bottling of the bourbon. Elmer T. Lee 100 Year Tribute Single Barrel Bourbon is the same mash bill and age as the original, but it’s bottle at a slightly higher 100-proof. “What Elmer did for American whiskey is hard to grasp in today’s terms, but in 1984, bourbon was in the doldrums and sales were low,” stated Harlen Wheatley, Buffalo Trace’s current master distiller.  “Elmer took a big risk creating a single barrel bourbon, but he hoped it would generate new interest in bourbon and revive the industry.  At first Blanton’s wasn’t popular, and Elmer feared it may not take off.  But today, I think it’s safe to say Elmer made a wise move.” Given that we find ourselves almost exclusively drinking single barrel products these days, we’re inclined to agree with Harlen Wheatley. Elmer T. Lee 100 Year Tribute Single Barrel Bourbon is hitting shelves later this month in very limited quantities at a suggested retail price of around $100, which means it’s probably going to be impossible to find and ludicrously priced on the secondary market. It’s also worth noting that proceeds from the sale will benefit the VFW that Elmer was a member of until his death in 2013.


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