Blanton’s Whiskey is a single-barrel bourbon whiskey distilled in Frankfort, Kentucky.
It is the first of its kind to be marketed as a single-barrel whiskey, with plenty of positive reviews and a collection of accolades. See Blantons price list below.
Blanton’s Whiskey: History
Blanton’s is produced at the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Kentucky. It was built in 1857 and is considered the oldest running distillery in the United States. During the Prohibition Period from 1920 to 1933, the whole country shut down the entire production and sale of alcohol. The distillery was given a special pass to continue the production of medical whiskey .
It was named after Albert B. Blanton, one of Buffalo Trace Distillery’s early leaders. Blanton started working at the distillery in 1897 when he was just 16 years old and became president of the Buffalo Trace Distillery in 1921. The company referred fondly to him as Colonel Blanton.
At 78 years old in 1959, he passed away, but not before he hired Elmer T. Lee in 1949, who would later become the Master Distiller of Buffalo Trace bourbon. The original Blanton’s recipe is his creation, which he launched in 1984.
How It’s Made
Blanton’s Whiskey is aged 6 to 8 years in a metal-clad warehouse in the Buffalo Trace Distillery. Because metal acts as an insulator and transfers heat faster than traditional brick warehouses, it hastens the aging process. It is said that Colonel Blanton crafted and stored his special, limited bourbon in honey barrels inside this warehouse.
Blanton’s is the first in the world to be sold commercially as single-barrel bourbons. This means that each bottling batch comes from the contents of a singular aging barrel — it is not mixed nor blended with other whiskies, nor do they add any flavorings and colorings to the final product. In fact, this process requires constant monitoring by the Master Distillers to ensure quality.
This process would also mean that there is a risk of inconsistency with every Blanton’s bottle. Since blended whiskies make use of the addition of different blends and flavors of whiskies, folks can reach the desired flavor profile every single time. Blanton’s lacks this liberty — the contents of one barrel may have an entirely different flavor profile from the other since barrels in the same warehouse can age very differently.
Is It Bourbon or Whiskey?
You may be confused as to why one brand offers bourbon while the other offers whiskey.
All bourbons are whiskey, as bourbon is a type of whiskey (much like champagne is a type of wine). Whiskey can be anywhere from scotch to rye.
According to the American Bourbon Association, bourbon needs to be made from a mixture of grains or a mash that’s at least 51 percent corn, distilled at 160, and poured in barrels to age to no more than 125 proof. The final bottling should be no less than 80 proof. It is said that 95 percent of the entire whiskey production in the United States is done in Kentucky.
How to Drink Blanton’s
Blanton’s products are best enjoyed on their own or with a tiny splash of cold water. It is a great quality whiskey to start with to familiarize yourself – especially if you’re a beginner looking for a liquor guide. It is a perfect balance of strong and sweet, with a hint of citrus.
And if you have it available, use the proper glassware. A wide-mouthed rocks glass is your best bet, as this allows the aroma to open up even more in the nose.
Why It Costs More Than Other Bourbons
Most single barrel bourbons normally cost a lot more than blended whiskies. Another popular brand name of whiskey, Jack Daniel’s, would cost you no less than roughly $50, whereas their No. 7 line, a blended whiskey, roughly costs just $25.
Also, Blanton’s is also considered a collector’s item. Their grenade-shaped crystal bottle is multi-faceted like a prism, with eight different horse bottle stoppers for each letter (BLANTONS) showcasing all the phases of a horse race (an homage to the rich tradition of horse racing in the state).
Original Single Barrel Bourbon
Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon was introduced in 1984 and awarded several international gold medals since its inception. It is even called liquid gold by some due to its superb quality. The Original Single Barrel is bottled with an ABV of 46.5 percent and has caramel, honey, and vanilla tasting notes.
The Gold Edition used to be unavailable in the United States… until 2020. The company is releasing it to buyers in annual editions at a suggested price of roughly $120. This bourbon is heavy in spices, with dark fudge, citrus, and cream notes. It’s also said that the Gold Edition is high in rye.
The Special Reserve edition is bottled and sold only in the United Kingdom. It is bottled at 40 percent ABV, with light flavors of new wood and dried fruits. We noticed as soon as we took a sip that it was kind of like a watered-down Original Single Barrel. Although delicious, it lacked depth.
Straight From The Barrel
Blanton’s Straight from the Barrel is bottled at an ABV of 65 percent. It packs a punch in terms of spice, and there is a rich, heavy dose of oak, along with the flavors of juicy raisins, honey, caramel, and smooth vanilla. There is also a hint of orange zest somewhere in the aroma.
Common Blanton’s Whiskey Prices
|Blanton’s Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon||750ml||93||$59.99 – $69.99|
|Blanton’s Straight from the Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon||750ml||122.8||$105.99 – $110.99|
|Blanton’s Special Reserve Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon||750ml||80||$59.99 – $69.99|
|Blanton’s Gold Edition Kentucky Straight Bourbon||750ml||103||$89.99 – $99.99|
Super Pricey Bourbons vs Standard Whiskey
Some Blanton’s brands are pricier than others, and this is because the other brands are aged longer in the distillery and have higher proofs. The products are also richer and more concentrated.
Their bottles are also more eye-catching and gorgeous than the original variant. The Gold Edition has an engraving of gold letters and a gold cap.
Some Blanton’s Alternatives Brands
Knob Creek has a bold, complex taste, with rich wood and vanilla notes. It is aged nine years in American oak casks and bottled at 50 percent ABV. Their 12-year-old bourbon whiskey has prices starting at roughly $60 per bottle.
Four Roses Single Barrel
Much like Knob Creek, Four Roses is also bottled at 50 percent ABV. This is a full-bodied whiskey with the flavors of rye, brown sugar, and peaches and remains surprisingly smooth all throughout. Four Roses bottles have prices starting at roughly $45.
Evan Williams Single Barrel
Evan Williams spends at least seven years in white oak casks inside the distiller before being poured into bottles. It is the most affordable among the rest, with prices starting at just about $25. This amber-colored liquid has the flavor notes of vanilla, cinnamon, and oak.
Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel
Wild Turkey Russell’s Reserve has prices starting roughly at $65 for a 750ml bottle. It is a solid bottle with rich notes of vanilla and cinnamon, with some crisp notes of mint and citrus. It is aged for ten years and bottled at an ABV of 55 percent.
Popular Blanton’s Whiskey Cocktail Recipes
Although we would insist that you first try this premium bourbon on its own, here are a few cocktail recipes that would still highlight this liquor’s flavors.
Old Fashioned Cocktail
This 200-year-old drink first emerged in the cocktail age. Feel free to also mix the other variants with this drink.
- 2 ounces Blanton’s Single Barrel Straight Bourbon
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 3 dashes Angostura bitters
- 1 teaspoon water
- Orange peel
- Fresh ice
Add the sugar and bitters to the bottom of a lowball glass. Gently stir until the sugar is dissolved. Pour the all bourbon in, add ice, and stir until everything is well-combined. Garnish with a thin orange peel.
The Brown Derby
The Brown Derby is a drink named after the horse racing tradition in the state of Kentucky.
- 3 ounces Blanton’s Single Barrel Straight Bourbon
- 2 ounces grapefruit juice
- 1 ounce simple syrup
Pour the bourbon, grapefruit juice, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker filled with ice and give everything a good shake. Strain and pour into a chilled cocktail glass.
Bourbon Strawberry Spritzer
The Bourbon Strawberry Spritzer is a southern drink that mixes sweet strawberries and savory basil.
- 1 ½ ounces Blanton’s Single Barrel Straight Bourbon
- ½ cup halved strawberries
- 6 to 8 basil leaves, torn
- Sparkling water
Muddle the strawberries and basil leaves at the bottom of a large cocktail glass. Pour the bourbon in and stir. Add ice and top the remaining with sparkling water. Garnish with a basil leaf.
Is Blanton’s hard to find?
Yes, Blanton’s is quite rare. Compared to Jim Beam and other mega-distillers, the Buffalo Trace Distillery only produces small batches of this brand.
Is Blanton’s worth the price?
Yes, Blanton’s is definitely worth the price. In fact, it comes in a beautiful bottle that you can proudly show off in your liquor cabinet, and the liquor taste itself is high quality and simply sublime.
If you want to experience a whiskey that’s got plenty of firsts, why not give Blanton’s whiskey a try? Despite its price point, we can assure you that every bottle is worth its value.
Lydia Martin hails from Redmond, Washington, where you’ll find some of the best cocktail bars and distilleries that offer a great mix of local drinks. She used to work as a bar manager in Paris and is a self-taught mixologist whose passion for crafting unique cocktails led her to create Liquor Laboratory. Lydia can whip up a mean Margarita in seconds!