|This article relies largely or entirely upon a single source. (October 2012)|
|Country of origin||Kentucky, United States|
|Alcohol by volume||c. 46.50% (varies)|
|Related products||Buffalo Trace|
The Blanton's brand was launched in 1984 under the guidance of the distillery's master distiller Elmer T. Lee, as the first modern bourbon marketed as a single barrel bourbon. The original brand name was "Blanton's Single Barrel Bourbon". A single barrel bourbon is one for which each bottling batch is produced from the contents of only one particular aging barrel – not mixed with whiskey from any other barrels (and not blended with neutral spirits, colorings, or flavorings). The company says that producing a high quality whiskey using this production method requires constant monitoring of every barrel in the middle of the warehouse by the Master Distiller. The barrels are dumped by hand without using machinery. There are eight different stopper designs, each with a different letter of the alphabet molded into it and topped with a figurine of a racehorse and jockey. When placed in order, spelling "B L A N T O N' S", the horse and jockey's poses display eight different scenes of a horse race, from standing at the gate, to crossing the finish line with a win.
Albert Blanton and the Buffalo Trace distillery
Blanton's bourbon was named in honor of one of the distillery's early leaders, Albert B. Blanton, who the company claims spent most of his life preserving the tradition of handcrafted bourbon. Blanton worked at the facility now known as the Buffalo Trace Distillery for approximately 55 years. He was born and raised on a farm just outside of Frankfort, Kentucky, and he began working at the distillery (then called the O.F.C. Distillery) in 1897 as an office boy when he was 16 years old. Over the next few years he reportedly worked in every department, and in 1912 he was appointed superintendent of the distillery, its warehouse, and bottling shop – at the same time that the distillery was renamed to become the George T. Stagg Distillery. He became president of the whiskey plant in 1921. Blanton died in 1959.
The company refers to him as "Colonel Blanton", as he held the honorific title of Kentucky Colonel (a relatively common honorific bestowed by the Commonwealth of Kentucky). The distillery had several owners during its history, and was renamed by its current owner, the Sazerac Company, to become the Buffalo Trace Distillery in 2001.
The brand's originator, master distiller Elmer T. Lee, was born in 1919. He joined the company's engineering department in 1949 and became its plant manager in 1969. He died in July 2013.
Blanton's Bourbon has been released with several different label colors, stopper finishes, and proofs.
- Blanton's in the USA is most commonly bottled with a beige label at 93 proof
- Blanton's in Japan is most commonly bottled at 80 proof with a black label
- Blanton's Special Reserve is bottled at 80 proof with a green label
- Blanton's Gold is bottled at 103 proof with gold colored label and stopper
- Blanton's Silver is bottled at 98 proof and has silver colored label and stopper
- Blanton's Barrel Proof is bottled at variable proofs with a copper colored label.
Reviews and Awards
Blanton's Bourbon has been highly rated by spirit ratings organizations. The San Francisco World Spirits Competition gave the single barrel bourbon one double gold, three gold, and two silver medal between 2007 and 2012. In 2014, Blanton's was awarded a silver medal at the International Wine & Spirits Competition (United Kingdom). The Beverage Testing Institute gave the bourbon a score of 94, well above the average score for bourbons. Wine Enthusiast raters have generally been least impressed with Blanton's, rating it in the 85-89 point interval on one occasion and in the 90-95 point interval on another.
- Gabriel, Trip (October 18, 2013). "The case of the Missing Bourbon". Frankfort, Kentucky: The New York Times. Retrieved October 19, 2013.
- Buffalo Trace Master Distiller Emeritus Elmer T. Lee, Creator of Blanton’s, Passes at 93, Business Lexington, July 16, 2013.
- "Proof66.com Summary of Blanton's Awards". Retrieved 2012-10-21.