Wild Turkey 8 Year 101 Bourbon review

Blanton's Substitutes / Alternatives That Might Fill The Empty Void

Love it or hate it, Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon is not particularly easy to find at the $50-60 MSRP, or even close to it. Even worse, I don’t think it’s going to become any easier to find any time soon. Don’t despair though because I think that there are some quality substitutes / alternatives that are similar, or at least have enough overlapping traits to be close-ish. As for finding horse toppers and letters…I can’t help you there.

 

 

Love it or hate it, Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon is not particularly easy to find at the $50-60 MSRP, or even close to it. Even worse, I don’t think it’s going to become any easier to find any time soon. Don’t despair though because I think that there are some quality substitutes / alternatives that are similar, or at least have enough overlapping traits to be close-ish. As for finding horse toppers and letters…I can’t help you there.

 

Before we get started, I’m going to tell you how I think about Blanton’s substitutes, because there are multiple options. 

 

   1. Find a whiskey with similar characteristics. I’m going to focus on this area.

   2. Find a whiskey that’s “better”, regardless of whether it’s anything like Blanton’s. This is far more difficult to write about since “better” is subjective and far too broad for this topic. I’m going to avoid this, because this will quickly take me off-track.

When I say “similar characteristics”, I mean whiskeys that herbal licorice and fennel, and fruity green grape, apple, orange, and cherry that I usually find in Blanton’s. I’m not claiming that these substitutes will be the exactly the same or that you’ll even agree with my assessment, but based on my experience, I think this is a good place to start the conversation.

Since there’s a lot of bourbon out there, I’m adding additional criteria to narrow down the list.

   1. Only bourbon – It’s a little obvious, but there are rye’s out there that could probably serve as good Blanton’s alternatives.

   2. Under $70 – MSRP is around $50-60, so I’ll add a little buffer. I also don’t think it’s useful to recommend $100+ substitutes.

   3. Not / minimally allocated – The point of this article is to provide easier to find alternatives. That said, this doesn’t mean that you’ll find these bourbons everywhere, just that they’re just easier to find than Blanton’s. That also means that I’m excluding everything from Buffalo Trace.

   4. I’ve reviewed it – This list is more helpful when I can personally attest to a whiskey and can refer back to what I’ve written. That said, there are bourbons I haven’t reviewed yet that probably belong on this list.

And after all that, here’s my current (and not at all definitive or finalized) list of Blanton’s alternatives that I believe provide a similar-ish experience based from lowest to highest price. That way, you can explore further based on your own budget and preferences. You may not agree with some / all of this list, and that’s fine by me.

If you’re on the move, this Glencairn-like stainless steel snifter glass should survive your travels. Shattered glass isn’t fun. Full transparency, this is an Amazon affiliate link, so I may earn a commission if you buy this or something else from Amazon.

BrüMate NOS’R, Double-Wall Stainless Steel Whiskey Nosing Glass – 7oz (Matte Black)

The tasty list of alternatives

*Images also link to the reviews

Details: Heaven Hill, 43% ABV, 7-8 years old, $25-35

Why: Offers similar gentle licorice, clove, apple, orange, and peach notes, but with more oak, wood spices, and chocolate. Admittedly this overall is a bit lighter and nuttier than Blanton’s.

Rating: Mid Shelf+

Availability: Pretty much everywhere

**Link to review here**

Details: Heaven Hill, 43% ABV, 7-8 years old, $25-35

Why: Offers similar gentle licorice, clove, apple, orange, and peach notes, but with more oak, wood spices, and chocolate. Admittedly this overall is a bit lighter and nuttier than Blanton’s.

Rating: Mid Shelf+

Availability: Pretty much everywhere

**Link to review here**

Details: Jim Beam, 54% ABV, NAS, $30-40

Why: Has a lot of brighter and vibrant dried apple, orange, licorice, and fennel, but also brings more oak, spice, and nuts. The ABV adds a little extra kick and richness, making this a fragrant and tasty option.

Rating: Mid Shelf+

Availability: I’m not entirely sure, but I would expect this to be in most stores with a good to decent bourbon selection

**Link to review here**

 

Details: Jim Beam, 54% ABV, NAS, $30-40

Why: Has a lot of brighter and vibrant dried apple, orange, licorice, and fennel, but also brings more oak, spice, and nuts. The ABV adds a little extra kick and richness, making this a fragrant and tasty option.

Rating: Mid Shelf+

Availability: I’m not entirely sure, but I would expect this to be in most stores with a good to decent bourbon selection

**Link to review here**

 

Details: Heaven Hill, 47% ABV, 12 years old (this particular pick), $30-40

Why: Some picks have a little more licorice, fennel, apple, and clove than the standard small batch release. Older picks may also bring more dryness, fragrant oak, and effervescent citrus that are more similar to Blanton’s Red.

Rating: Mid Shelf+

Availability: Small Batch is everywhere, but store picks are tougher to find

**Link to review here**

Details: Heaven Hill, 47% ABV, 12 years old (this particular pick), $30-40

Why: Some picks have a little more licorice, fennel, apple, and clove than the standard small batch release. Older picks may also bring more dryness, fragrant oak, and effervescent citrus that are more similar to Blanton’s Red.

Rating: Mid Shelf+

Availability: Small Batch is everywhere, but store picks are tougher to find

**Link to review here**

Details: Four Roses, 50% ABV, 7-8 years, $40-50, OBSV (“delicate fruit and rye”)

Why: Has a similar focus on delicate and brighter apple and honey sweetness, gentle herbalness, but with a little more more fruit, oak, and spice than Blanton’s. You could also probably summarize Blanton’s as “delicate fruit and rye”.

Rating: Mid Shelf+

Availability: Many stores with decent / good bourbon selections should have it

**Link to review here**

Details: Four Roses, 50% ABV, 7-8 years, $40-50, OBSV (“delicate fruit and rye”)

Why: Has a similar focus on delicate and brighter apple and honey sweetness, gentle herbalness, but with a little more more fruit, oak, and spice than Blanton’s. You could also probably summarize Blanton’s as “delicate fruit and rye”.

Rating: Mid Shelf+

Availability: Many stores with decent / good bourbon selections should have it

**Link to review here**

Details: A. Smith Bowman, 50% ABV, 8-9 years, $50-60

Why: Also distilled by Buffalo Trace but aged in Virginia (since its owned by Sazerac). This has more or less the same herbal and fruity sweetness, but is far richer and developed in virtually every way, outdoing Blanton’s at its own game. This is the better version of Blanton’s (and Elmer T Lee).

Rating: Mid Shelf+

Availability: Regional, not everywhere

**Link to review here**

Details: A. Smith Bowman, 50% ABV, 8-9 years, $50-60

Why: Also distilled by Buffalo Trace but aged in Virginia (since its owned by Sazerac). This has more or less the same herbal and fruity sweetness, but is far richer and developed in virtually every way, outdoing Blanton’s at its own game. This is the better version of Blanton’s (and Elmer T Lee).

Rating: Mid Shelf+

Availability: Regional, not everywhere

**Link to review here**

Details: Wild Turkey, 55% ABV, 10 years (this pick), $55-60
Why: While it has some similar herbal and fruit-forward traits, it’s far more complex and varied sweetness, fruitiness, oak, tobacco, and more put this on a completely different level. You could just replace Blanton’s with this
Rating: Top Shelf

Availability: Many stores with good bourbon selections should have it, but store picks are becoming more uncommon

Note: I reviewed a Total Wine Pick, so I can’t confidently say that this is representative of other Russell’s Reserve Single Barrels

**Link to review here**

Details: Wild Turkey, 55% ABV, 10 years (this pick), $55-60
Why: While it has some similar herbal and fruit-forward traits, it’s far more complex and varied sweetness, fruitiness, oak, tobacco, and more put this on a completely different level. You could just replace Blanton’s with this
Rating: Top Shelf

Availability: Many stores with good bourbon selections should have it, but store picks are becoming more uncommon

Note: I reviewed a Total Wine Pick, so I can’t confidently say that this is representative of other Russell’s Reserve Single Barrels

**Link to review here**

Details: Four Roses, 52% ABV, 6 years, $60-70

Why: Has darker herbal and fruit with more cherry, oak, spice, dark fruits, cola.

Rating: Top Shelf

Availability: Distribution is still somewhat regional, but it’s expanding

**Link to review here**

Details: Four Roses, 52% ABV, 6 years, $60-70

Why: Has darker herbal and fruit with more cherry, oak, spice, dark fruits, cola.

Rating: Top Shelf

Availability: Distribution is still somewhat regional, but it’s expanding

**Link to review here**

There you have it: bourbons at various price points that I think are closeish to good Blanton’s substitutes. I swear it’s a coincidence that most of the bourbons are also single barrel.

I hope you find this list useful (minus the craving for horses), although there’s nothing quite as perfect as the real thing, regardless of whether the alternatives are better. This list will probably be updated from time to time as I review more whiskey, so take this as version 1.0 and not final. Let me know what you think.

As an FYI, I bought and use these Glencairn glasses for my reviews and comparisons (because they’re the best): Glencairn Crystal Whiskey Glass, Set of 6, Clear, 6 Pack. Full transparency, this is an affiliate link, so I may earn a commission if you buy this or something else from Amazon.

Thanks for reading!

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