The Unique Story of Elmer T. Lee

May 17, 2024

The ultimate success stories always involve the self-made little guy climbing their way up the corporate ladder, struggling hour after hour, week after week, earning meager wages and eventually getting noticed and rewarded after years of labor-intensive work. Ones like Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Warren Buffet come to mind with their humble beginnings. Wait... bad examples.

But a true self-made individual can be found at the one-and-only Buffalo Trace! Elmer T. Lee.

The Makings of a Self-Made Man

Elmer T. Lee, a revered figure in the world of bourbon, epitomizes the journey from humble beginnings to legendary status. Born on August 5, 1919, into a modest farming family in Franklin County, Kentucky, Lee's early life was marked by hard work and simplicity. After serving as a radar bombardier in World War II, he pursued an engineering degree at the University of Kentucky on the GI Bill. In 1949, Lee began his career at the George T. Stagg Distillery (now Buffalo Trace) as a maintenance engineer. His keen interest in bourbon production and dedication quickly propelled him through the ranks, and by 1966, he had risen to the position of plant superintendent and was soon appointed as master distiller.

As master distiller, Elmer T. Lee played a pivotal role in the resurgence of single-barrel bourbons, a concept that was relatively unheard of at the time. His innovative approach and exceptional palate led to the creation of Blanton’s, the first commercially available single-barrel bourbon, in 1984. This groundbreaking release set a new standard for quality and solidified Lee's reputation as a visionary in the industry. In recognition of his significant contributions, the distillery honored him with the Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel Bourbon, released in 1986. This bourbon embodies the craftsmanship and dedication Lee brought to his work, becoming a highly sought-after spirit among enthusiasts. Elmer T. Lee's legacy is a testament to his remarkable journey from a humble start to becoming a master distiller whose name is synonymous with excellence in bourbon. His story continues to inspire many in the industry, reflecting the profound impact one individual can have through passion, hard work, and innovation.

The Specs of Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel Bourbon

Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel Bourbon is a distinguished whiskey that embodies the legacy of its namesake, Master Distiller Emeritus Elmer T. Lee. Hand-selected and bottled to meet the high standards set by Lee himself, this bourbon offers a complex and rich tasting experience. On the nose, it presents inviting notes of clove, vanilla, and old leather, setting the stage for a nuanced palate.

The flavor profile balances classic bourbon notes with a distinctive spiciness and hints of char. A range of fruits adds depth and complexity, while honey and vanilla contribute to its smooth, balanced character. The finish is long and warm, leaving a lasting impression. Recognized for its quality, Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel Bourbon has received a Wine Enthusiast rating of 91, affirming its status as a meticulously crafted and highly esteemed whiskey.

Get your bottle here of this legendary single barrel bourbon from the master distiller who knows a thing or two about just such a product!