Broken Barrel Small Batch Bourbon Review [In Depth]

Warehouse H Book By Dominic Guglielmi

Alex author
Founder, writer
warehouse h book review fb

I'm writing about a book about Blanton's...really

I never thought this would happen, but I’m doing a book review…sort of. Warehouse H, aka Dominic Guglielmi, sent me a copy of his book, also called Warehouse H, to read and share my thoughts with you.
I’m going to approach this review as a whiskey reviewer and enjoyer, and not a book critic. This is the first book I’ve read in years, outside of those for studying Japanese. I just want to enjoy reading this book and learning about Blanton’s. I’ll tell you if I do, and my other opinions on it. Let’s get started.
Blanton’s is one of, if not, the most polarizing bourbons. It draws adoration and criticism from different people in the same groups, but nonetheless a lot of people want it and chase it. I have a lot of opinions on Blanton’s, but you can read my reviews and comparisons for those opinions. This is about the book.
Time for some background on Warehouse H (aka Dominic Guglielmi). Blanton’s has been very hot for years, and in 2017 Dominic Guglielmi got sucked into Blanton’s mania. Not only that, he dove into the deep end unlike anyone else. He went all in…and it became more or less an obsession.

You may know him as the guy with one of the largest Blanton’s collections on the planet. It’s not just the normal stuff, but also all the super rare releases over the decades and all over the world. He has a website and is on various social media platforms showing off his stuff: bottles, accessories, and other Blanton’s related stuff.

warehouse h book review open
Showing off doesn’t feel like the appropriate word though. It doesn’t seem like he’s doing it to pointlessly boast and get attention. Exhibiting the bottles like a museum is a better term. It’s really a curated Blanton’s museum to provide the visual history. He’s not a reviewer, but a collector, teacher, and enjoyer of drinking bourbon, although not drinking those super rare bottles.
And so he wrote this book, his passion project, to research and share the story behind the brand and how it came to be, plus exhibit his expansive collection that’s truly huge. I won’t spoil too much of what’s in the book, but it covers
  • The history of bourbon, from the beginning, to its decline, to the boom
  • the history of the distillery (including before it became Buffalo Trace)
  • the many people involved in bourbon and the eventual creation of Blanton’s
  • details on most (but not all) of the releases over the years
At this point, it’s also sold at the Buffalo Trace distillery, so it sounds like they approve of it already.
For further context, I’m probably one of the more prolific Blanton’s reviewers, having done 12 reviews spanning the 80s to the modern day, including bottles dumped in 1989, 1991, 1992, and 1993. I’ve also reviewed just about every standard release of Blanton’s so I have a unique appreciation for what it used to be and what it is now.
Warehouse H is the historian and collector, and I’m the reviewer. At least as of this write-up, I have one bottle of 1989 Blanton’s and a nearly finished store pick.
With all this background, here’s what I think about the book.
Thank you to Dominic (Warehouse H) for sending me this book. All opionions are still my own.
warehouse h book review back
q? encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B003VAWA68&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format= SL250 &tag=thewhiskeyshe 20

As an FYI, I bought and use these Glencairn glasses for everything (they’re the best): Glencairn Crystal Whiskey Glass Set of 6, Set of 4Set of 2, or just one. Full transparency, this is an affiliate link, so I may earn a commission if you buy this or something else from Amazon.

What I like about Warehouse H (the book)

A wonderful history lesson

As advertised, Warehouse H is jam packed with insightful information. I learned so much about how Blanton’s came to be, the history behind the distillery we now know as Buffalo Trace, the struggles the distillery faced as Bourbon popularity fluctuated, and how Ancient Age International came to own the brand. I knew bits and pieces of it, but now I have a whole new appreciation for its history. He definitely delivered the goods.

Before reading this book, I already had a great appreciation for old Blanton’s. I loved drinking them too (gasp! Yes I actually opened and drank those bottles). As I did and wrote my reviews, I always wondered what the distillery was called in the 80s and 90s that made the magical nectar, and turns out that it’s not that straightforward. Read the book to learn more about that, because it delivers on the history. This book has made me more knowledgeable and appreciate Blanton’s more, even though I continue to generally not be enamored with how modern versions drink.

The writing style and tone make it fun to read

The writing style is approachable and far from academic, making him feel like a friend talking to you. This is entirely meant as a compliment because I have no attention span when it comes to reading books for fun…because I don’t read books for fun. I roll my eyes when people try way too hard to be fancy and overly prose-y in their whiskey writing. I appreciate Dominic’s style, so no eye rolls for me…just keep telling me more.
As a result, I had a lot of fun reading this book. It took me about 2 weeks to finish because I don’t have the attention span to read books for too long in one sitting, but I was captivated when I was reading. Depending on who you are, you could easily finish this in a few hours because it’s not a very long book. There’s still plenty of substance though.
I also appreciate how Dominic is even-keeled in his adoration for the brand. Yes, he appreciates Blanton’s a lot (like a lot), but he doesn’t gush on and on about how it’s the best bourbon and the best thing ever. This book is an exhibition, not a cry for attention and validation on social media.
My summary of his approach is that he appreciates the brand and its history, but he’s also cognizant of the overdone hype (that’s not necessarily warranted) and that it’s not as good as it used to be. I can vibe with that.
Props to Dominic for keeping it fun and enjoyable.

The photos are very cool

There are a lot of awesome photos in Warehouse H. For some, the photos of the many crazy rare bottles are probably the selling point of the book, and they are gorgeous. Dominic has one of the most expansive collections in the world, and I’m awestruck to see all those bottles and appreciate releases from all over the world. There are some insane expressions, and it’s cool to see them all in one place. It’s quite the exhibition, and I’m surprised at how many there are.
On top of that, there really cool photos of other bourbon-related things, including old photos of the distillery now known as Buffalo Trace, plus bourbon ads from decades past.
warehouse h book review bottle shot 2

What I think could be improved

I want more photos

I have one critique, and it’s with the photos. Hear me out on this one.
While there are a lot of amazing photos of the distillery, people, old ads, and bottles, the bottle shots of this fairly complete collection still feel…not quite complete. There are some gorgeous half and full page bottle shots, but most of the bottles only have a single ~3 inch x ~3 inch front shot. It’s a good start, but the book would be better with more photos of each bottle and more full page features.
I write that because my personal style is to photograph each bottle from different angles to capture every part of the bottle, including close ups of the label and horse top. I usually include 3-4 photos when I review a bottle of Blanton’s. It’s my way of providing a more comprehensive experience.
Warehouse H is a one of a kind exploration and showcase with so many rare bottles most of us will never see in person. There is so much interesting artwork on the bottles and boxes, so I wish there were more photos to give us the feeling that we’re holding and admiring each bottle up close. This was a missed opportunity to thoroughly show-off all the amazing bottles.
3-4 photos of each bottle is definitely overkill for Warehouse H, but this is an exhibition and I want a more complete picture of each one. Dominic has so many bottles, and they are worth the extra photos.
I know that the book would be a lot thicker and possibly more expensive, but it deserves to be that way to be comprehensive. Maybe Dominic did that on purpose and will release a part 2 or updated version in the future. Maybe there’s a massive coffee table book in the works.

A shout out would have been amazing

Ok fine, I have another 1/4 critique…or at least something that would have been nice for me. Given how many bottles I’ve reviewed, I wish the book referenced one of my reviews or some part of one. I have a lot of experience with how Blanton’s smells and tastes, and I think my insights would have been a great addition to the book. It would have been cool to be mentioned.
Then again, this book is mostly about fact (or as close to fact as could be found) and less about tasting, so my content probably doesn’t fit well in the book.

In Conclusion

Warehouse H is a one of a kind book I recommend that you buy for yourself and gift to others. Dominic doesn’t mindlessly dote over the bottle or the bourbon inside, and it’s all the better for the lack of overdone fanboying. He took me (and will take you) on a captivating journey that has probably never been compiled to this level of completeness. This is a book for all bourbon lovers, regardless of how you feel about Blanton’s.
Alex author
Meet the Author: Alex

I have far too much fun writing about whiskey and singlehandedly running The Whiskey Shelf to bring you independent, honest, and useful reviews, comparisons, and more. I’m proudly Asian American and can speak Cantonese, Mandarin, and some Japanese.

There are no sponsors, no media companies, and no nonsense. Support The Whiskey Shelf by Buying Me A Shot.
q? encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B07GL6Z1X3&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format= SL250 &tag=thewhiskeyshe 20

Shattered glass really sucks, so if you’re on the move, this Glencairn-like stainless steel snifter glass should survive your travels. 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)