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Blanton’s Bourbon – History of the Whiskey with A Horse on Top

Let us take you through the rich history of the Blanton’s Bourbon Whisky brand that originates from the banks of the Kentucky River.

Blanton’s Bourbon changed the game by keeping things simple and doing less.

There is no blending once the corn is milled and the content cooked is placed on the charred barrel and left to age.

Originating from the Award-winning facility the Buffalo Trace Distillery is owned by the Sazerac company. 

The bourbon is presented in an iconic multi-faceted hand grenade-shaped bottle with an exquisite horseback rider metal top.

Blanton’s Bourbon History 

Blanton’s was launched in 1984 under the guidance of Elmer T. Lee, a master in the distillery arts who trained under the bourbon’s namesake Colonel B Blanton in the 1940s.

This was the first modern single barrel bourbon and this revolutionized what bourbon was thought to be in the world.

Blanton’s single barrel bourbon has a deep Kentucky heritage which we will discuss further below.

Blanton’s bourbon was named as a tribute to the president of distillery Colonel Albert B. Blanton who dedicated 55 years of service to the Buffalo Trace Distillery. It was then called old-fashioned copper and later changed to George T. Stagg Distillery. 

Colonel Blanton was born at a farm just a stone’s throw away from the distillery.

He joined the distillery as an office assistant and clerk at the tender age of 16 years. 

Blanton had a genuine interest in all the operational aspects of the distillery, and this would be valuable in keeping the business afloat when adversity hit.

Colonel Blanton guided the distillery through the political turmoil that prevented businesses from manufacturing alcoholic beverages in America. 

Many distilleries and businesses closed down in numbers. Through the highest business acumen and quick wit of Blanton, he ensured that whiskey was still being aged and safely stored and that the distillery had inventory to sell when the ban was lifted years later.

This was an exceptional man deserving of an iconic whiskey named after him. 

The Colonel saved people’s livelihoods and he was pivotal in navigating the George T. Stagg Distillery through natural disaster when it flooded. He also kept things afloat through the second world war when commercial whiskey production was suspended. 

Colonel Blanton was loved and respected in the community of Frankfort and the entire Kentucky State at large. 

Albert Blanton was affectionately called Colonel Blanton at the distillery where he served as a distiller and president from 1921 right to the time of his passing in 1959.

He held the highest honor of the commonwealth of Kentucky.

Elmer T. Lee remembered how Colonel Blanton would host and entertain dignitaries by selecting from special honey barrels located in the center part of warehouse H and bottling bourbon from a single barrel at a time. 

Colonel Blanton never got to see or taste this remarkable Single Barrel bourbon but he greatly influenced its creation.

Blanton’s Single Barrel bourbon has a deep Kentucky heritage which puts it up there with the top three best single barrel bourbons. It is the true original trendsetter.

Warehouse H

Located in the bourbon capital of the world is Warehouse H, the only metal distillery in the state of Kentucky. This was the solution Blanton proposed for a quick building.

Warehouse H was rapidly built during the repeal of prohibition in 1933 when Blanton’s Distillery was running out of storage space due to an increase of production with no stock being sold.

It was a happy accident when Colonel Blanton discovered that the metal walls of warehouse H affected the bourbon uniquely. The thin metal walls bring the Kentucky climate inside the barrels. 

Warehouse H provides a high-quality bourbon aging process. The barrels age at a steady rate with each Kentucky season captured by the barrels. 

The barrels move through a cycle of absorbing, releasing, reabsorbing, and releasing the contents of the barrel which makes for a premium bourbon.

These are the aspects that influenced Elmer A Lee to pronounce Warehouse H as the forever home of Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon in 1984.

Production Process 

The Buffalo Trace closely guards the manufacturer specifications of the Blanton’s single bourbon, however, we have access to snippets and can deduce some of the information. 

We know that this bourbon is manufactured in warehouse H. It is a no age statement whiskey but we can deduce that it is over 4 years of age. 

The US regulations require the no age statement bourbons must be less than four years to be declared on the label.

The Blanton’s bourbon is distilled from mash bill number two which is a high rye content mash bill when compared to mash bill number one. Corn and rye bring out the spicy and fruity flavors and some char. 

However, the mash bill content does not exclusively contribute to the flavor profile as the barrel plays a very important role.

Blanton’s bourbon is hand-dumped which means the bottle is not mechanically filled. Even some aspects of the label are handwritten which shows the level of care and artisan quality of this bourbon. 

Bottle and Label

The bottle is hand-grenade-shaped. Blanton’s original bottle is 750ml (25.36 Oz). The bottle has a short neck that holds the iconic horse stopper.

The label is waxed sealed and printed on a beautiful aged caramel-colored paper. The highest level of detail has been taken and some details are even handwritten. 

Blanton’s also makes a variety of bottles in 50ml and 375ml. The exquisite metal and cork stoppers have a high collectors value. 

It is important to note that the 50ml horse stoppers have no collectible value like the 375ml and 750ml stoppers. 

The Iconic Horse Stoppers

Blanton’s bourbon iconic horse stoppers are the most recognizable feature of the brand. The stoppers were first launched in 1999 and pay homage to the deep tradition and heritage of horses and bourbon throughout Kentucky.

The stoppers feature a horse and jockey at different stages of a race and each one comes with a single letter from the name ‘Blanton’s’. 

The ‘S’ stopper is the horse and jockey bolting for the finish line. There are two variations of the letter N that are collectible.

Upon completing the collection of your eight stoppers you can send them to Buffalo Trace Distillery where they will mount them on a beautiful barrel stave and return them at no cost to you. 

Price and Availability

The variety of Blanton’s bourbon is available at selected USA domestic and international markets except for the special reserve which is only available internationally outside of the USA. 

The Single Barrel bourbon generally sells for less than $60 however older bottles sold at auction sites can sell for up to $200. 

There are times when Blanton’s is hard to find because of a need for longer aging periods. The number of bottles sold to resellers is limited around the world so when you are lucky enough to locate a bottle of Blanton’s, grab it. 

Serving Suggestions

Blanton’s bourbon is best served and enjoyed neat or on the rocks. Try it in a classic Old Fashioned or a Mule cocktail for a sophisticated drinking experience.

Blanton’s Bourbon Range 

Original Single Barrel

This bourbon is taken from the center of legendary warehouse H. This selected location was once reserved for important people, such as ambassadors, that Colonel Blanton would entertain. 

The nose has aspects of creamy vanilla, coated tobacco, and notes of spiciness. 

The taste is that of citrus oak and lingering nutmeg and cinnamon. 

The single barrel is 93 proof and bottled at an alcohol volume of 46.5%.

Blanton’s Gold Edition

This bourbon is a blend of complexity and smoothness. It is particularly enjoyed by those who enjoy sipping bourbon.

It is a bottle that is rare to find and difficult to keep in your cabinet. 

The nose is a medley of fruits covered in a musky scent of tobacco and rye. 

Blanton’s Gold Edition is complex and pleasing on the palate with a charred oak taste covered in honey. You will enjoy a pleasant long vanilla finish.

It is sold at 103 proof and bottled at 51.5 by alcohol volume. 

Straight From the Barrel 

Straight From the Barrel is specially curated by a discerning bourbon connoisseur. It is bold and a cask-proof whiskey.

The nose has the scent of caramel and nuts. The taste is scrumptious vanilla and oak. 

It is the stallion of the Blanton bourbon range that finishes boldly with the high alcohol content unmissable.

Special Reserve

The Special Reserve has a subtle superior quality that is easy to approach and is a good first stop for whiskey drinkers. It boasts soft floral garden notes covered in raisin and sweet vanilla.

The palate has a light vanilla and toffee flavor. There is a prominent dried fruit flavor with some white pepperiness. 

Highly recommended for creating premium cocktails with a superior taste. It’s bottled at 40% alcohol by volume and 80 proof. 

Conclusion 

Blanton’s is a pioneer in single barrel bourbon making, rooted in the deep bourbon-making tradition and heritage of Kentucky. 

This is a bourbon bottle that will be worth your money and is a delectable and memorable drink. 

More Whiskey Histories

Balcones Whisky

Uncle Nearest Whiskey

What do you think?

Written by Macie Maislin

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