Blanton’s was first introduced in 1984 under the supervision of Master Distiller Elmer T. Lee. It was the first modern bourbon that was brought on the market as Single Barrel.
Owner of the brand is the Sazerac Company, the whiskey is distilled in their Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky.
The whiskey is named after Albert Bacon Blanton, also known as Colonel Blanton (Kentucky Colonel is a fairly common honorific title granted by the Commonwealth of Kentucky).
He was born in 1881 and started working as an office clerk the then O.F.C. Distillery at age 16. in 1912, after having worked in every department, he became the manager of the distillery, the warehouse and the bottling plant.
Around that time, the distillery was renamed George T. Stagg Distillery. He was eventually appointed director in 1921. After his resignation in 1952 he could enjoy his retirement for only seven years. He died in the Spring of 1959....
Although the original brand name “Blanton’s Singe Barrel Bourbon” is no longer used, each bottle of Blanton’s still originates from a single barrel. Emptying the barrels and filling the bottles is done by hand instead of by machines. The eight different stoppers are a special gimmick. Each has a letter next to a figure of a racehorse with jockey in different poses. When placed in order, the form a stop-motion depiction from the start to the (winning) finish.
Blanton’s is named after Colonel Albert Blanton. He was the first person to put whiskies on the market according to the single barrel method. The horse and jockey on the bottle stoppers are the trademark of Blanton and refer to the rich heritage and the tradition of the Kentucky parallel.
In 1964, the US Congress determined that a Bourbon Whiskey had to meet a number of requirements: 1) it has to be produced in the United States, 2) it has to contain at least 51% corn, 3) it may be distilled up to a maximum of 80% alcohol, 4) it has to be 100% natural, and 5) it has to ripen in new toasted oak barrels. There are additional requirements for Straight Bourbon, which has to ripen at least 2 years. If it is ripened less than 4 years, the age must be explicitly stated on the label.
Blanton’s Original smells lightly spiced with hints of dried citrus, orange peel, caramel and vanilla. It has a full and soft taste. People taste caramel, orange, burnt sugar and cloves. The aftertaste is well balanced with vanilla, honey and citrus.
Blanton’s Special Reserve Green comes from a single barrel. Each bottle is filled, labelled, sealed and numbered by hand. Nose: spicy, sweet grains, buttery with some fruity touches. Taste: frivolous, spicy and toffee. Aftertaste: spicy and medium-length.
All Straight From The Barrel Bourbon actually already is a “single” whiskey such as a single malt, because it was never blended with neutral alcohol. The whiskey also comes from a single distillery. The distillers in Kentucky came up with the idea to name their special whiskies: Single Barrel, Small Batch Bourbon and Small Scale Bourbon.
In Single Barrel Bourbons such as this Blanton’s Special Reserve, each barrel of Bourbon is different, therefore causing the whiskey inside of it to ripen slightly differently. The location of the barrel of whiskey in the warehouse also influences the ripening process.
The barrels with the highest quality whiskey, the ones with much higher quality than average, are located in the middle of the warehouse. This whiskey is often ripened longer to get even better. Each barrel is then bottled separately, making each bottle a unique product.