Blanton’s is named after Albert Blanton who started working at what was then the George T. Stagg Distillery in 1897. He stayed with the company for 55 years. In 1984 Blanton’s Single Barrel was released as a full strength premium product. It sold for 2-3 times typical Bourbons and was a risky venture during some darker days of the Bourbon industry. Other whiskeys were more fashionable as well as a general downturn in whiskey consumption. With a premium single barrel product backed by a strong marketing campaign, Blanton’s slowly gained a strong following. It’s credited as the first single barrel Bourbon product, at least in the modern marketplace.
The inspiration for Blanton’s came from parties thrown by Albert back in the day. Blanton would pull samples from his favorite Warehouse H. He would pick a barrel or two and then have them bottled for his guests. Blanton felt Warehouse H made the best Bourbon, and that has been the source of Blanton’s from the beginning. Warehouse H is a tin clad building that Blanton had built shortly after prohibition. The intention was to make a metal warehouse to age whiskey faster, which obviously was suddenly in demand again. As a result, the warehouse tends to get warmer during the summer days than others. Like other warehouses at Buffalo Trace, Warehouse H is also steam-heated during the winter, further aiding the aging process.
Today that full barrel strength and some other variations are only available outside of the U.S., which is a shame. What we have here in the U.S. clocks in at 46.5%. Overseas you can find a Gold Edition at 51.5%, Straight from the Barrel around 66.25%, and an entry expression Special Reserve at 40%.
No age statement ,but said to be around 9 years old. Bottled at 46.5%. Aged in Warehouse H. Uses Buffalo Trace Mash #2, which is thought to be about 13-15% rye. MSRP – $54.99 (2016 Price)
Fruity. Some apples, maybe cherry. Grapes. A little perfume. Oak. A little cola. Vanilla. Some corn.
Mild char flavors. Caramel. Vanilla. Light toffee. Mild rye spice. Tartness. A little chocolate in the finish. Nice sweetness up front balanced by char, a little spice, and some astringent drying. Delicate with good flavor.
Excellent. The bottle of Blanton’s is a classic whiskey decanter with that iconic jockey stopper. This drink exudes history of American Bourbon. My Bourbon preference is more on the spicy side and this Bourbon seems to lack some oomph. Some days I feel it’s a little boring, but it’s a delightful glass. I’m really wondering what the Straight from the Barrel Blanton’s is like. Or even the Blanton’s Gold. I’ll have to source a bottle or at least a sample some day.
I’m very happy with this buy and I don’t think anyone should be disappointed in buying a bottle. It’s a page out of modern Bourbon history and a very nice experience. I think it would also make a nice gateway Bourbon being a mild whiskey with still good character. You may be able to find it cheaper than my ABC price book, but $60 is a little pricy, I think.
This is where things get complicated… For $60 I don’t see myself keeping this stocked. It’s not rare, yet, and I just don’t love it that much. Right now I like to slightly better than Elmer T Lee, but that could change with the day. They’re each very nice, but Elmer T Lee is over $25 cheaper. So while I like it, I’m not sure I like it $25 better. I’ll probably eventually buy another bottle, especially if I find it on sale in my travels. Plus, those cork stoppers are collectible, so there’s that for when I run out of things to buy.
Buy a Bottle – 3.5/5 Rating
(My 5 point scale: Pass, Try a Glass, Buy a Bottle, Buy Again, Shut Up and Take My Money – Bottle price is taken into consideration for recommendations.)
- Blanton’s Website
- Elmer T Lee Obituary
- Elmer T Lee 2008 Interview
- Buffalo Trace
- Red White and Bourbon
- Chuck Cowdery