Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon is produced at the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky. Blanton’s was the first single barrel bourbon to be sold commercially. It’s bottled without an age statement, which may turn off some whiskey aficionados, but this is due to each bottle being from a single barrel. Blanton’s bourbon is selected by a master distiller when it is “ready”, not at a specific age, although most estimates put it in the 6-8 year range. It has a strong nose of vanilla, and notes of citrus, raisins, and oak on the palate.
In addition to being sought after for its quality, Blanton’s is coveted by collectors who seek to complete their collection of lettered Blanton’s bottle stoppers, which are marked with one of the letters in the name Blanton’s and with different horse and jockey figures. A full set spells out BLANTON’S and when aligned properly depicts the entirety of a horse race.
Blanton’s Product Line
In addition to their original single barrel bourbon, Blanton’s produces a domestic bottling called Gold Edition as well as two whiskeys available only outside the USA in select international markets, the Special Edition and the Straight from the Barrel bottling.
- Gold Edition
The Blanton’s Gold Edition mash bill is not disclosed, however, it is suspected that it has a higher rye content than the classic Blanton’s Bourbon does. Notes of vanilla, tobacco, rye, honey, and dark fruit can be found in this bottle. Bottled at 51.5% ABV.
Below are the latest Blanton’s whiskey prices –
|Type||Bottle Size||Starting Price|
|Blanton's Single Barrel Bourbon||375ml||$39.99|
|Blanton's Straight From The Barrel Bourbon||750ml||$190.49|
|Blanton's Special Reserve||750ml||$199.99|
|Blanton's Gold Edition Bourbon||750ml||$249.99|
While there are many quality bourbons in the same price range as Blanton’s I’ll focus on competing single barrel bourbons here.
- Knob Creek Single Barrel
Produced by Beam Suntory, Knob Creek Single Barrel is a sweet, bold, bourbon that makes for a great introduction to high proof whiskey. It’s easily available, affordable, and doesn’t present any challenging flavors, which depending on what you’re looking for could be good or bad. Considering its high proof, it’s fairly easy to drink, and good for sipping neat or with a few drops of water. It is produced using a mash bill of 75% corn, 13% rye, and 12% malted barley. Notes of apple, oak, cinnamon, leather, and vanilla. Bottled at 60% ABV.
- Four Roses Single Barrel
Produced with a mash bill utilizing 60% Corn, 35% Rye, and 5% malted barley, Four Roses single barrel is a balanced bourbon with a strong rye kick to it. Four Roses uses two separate mash bills and at least five different strains of yeast across the production of their entire line. This bottle features a strain of yeast which carries fruity, sweet flavors with it into the mash. Their Single Barrel is bold, complex, and yet still balanced, with notes of spice and fruit from the rye and caramel and vanilla as well. There’s a reason they’ve won “Distillery of the Year” so many times. Bottled at 50% ABV.
- Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel
Russell’s Reserve is made by Wild Turkey, the same folks who brought you the shockingly affordable and delicious Wild Turkey 101. Selected by father and son Master Distillers Jimmy and Eddie Russel, and bearing their name, this bottle uses the same 75% corn, 13% rye, 12% barley mash bill as all Wild Turkey products. Notes of tobacco, leather, and spices mingle with the classic oak and vanilla bourbon profile. Bottled at 55% ABV.
- Evan Williams Single Barrel
The best bang for your buck so to speak. Evan Williams Single Barrel won’t run you as much as the others, but it’s a solid option quality-wise and easily available compared to brands such as Blanton’s which have caught the attention of whiskey collectors and fly off shelves for sale on the secondary market. Strong notes of oak, vanilla, cinnamon, and caramelized sugars. The only downside to this bottle is that it is a little light at only 43.3% ABV.
Cocktails With Blanton’s
Single Barrel Bourbons, like single malt scotch, aren’t really produced with cocktails in mind. Many of the more nuanced or subtle flavors in the whiskey will be lost behind the additional ingredients. That being said, they still make for excellent drinks so if you’re going to mix with Blanton’s try these out first.
- 2 oz Blanton’s
- 3.5 oz quality soda water (look for high carbonation, you want lots of bubbles)
- Lemon twist
Build over ice in glass, give a gentle half stir. Enjoy
The Japanese have popularized and perfected the whiskey highball, even going as far as blending whiskey with the highball specifically in mind (Suntory Toki) and with good reason. It’s a simple, easy to make drink that focuses squarely on quality ingredients and letting those ingredients speak for themselves. Use good soda water with lots of bubbles like topo chico for this. The carbonation and water will open up aromas and flavors in the whiskey that may have been harder to detect before. A warning though, your bourbon purist friends may groan at using Blanton’s in this manner.
- 2 oz Blanton’s
- .75 oz Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth
- 1 dash angostura bitters
- 1 dash orange bitters
Stir over ice, strain up, garnish with an orange twist and a brandied cherry. When mixing a manhattan or rob roy with a high quality whiskey, I often reduce the amount of vermouth in an attempt to prevent the flavors of the whiskey from being overpowered. That’s of particular concern when using Carpano Antica as it has such a bold vanilla flavor and can easily take over a cocktail.
Try tweaking this cocktail by adding an amaro and reducing some of the vermouths, by replacing the types of bitters used, or by adding an aromatic misted over the top such as high-quality absinthe or allspice dram.
Blanton’s Whiskey History and Production
Blanton’s is manufactured at the Buffalo Trace distillery, which is said to be the oldest continuously operating distillery in the USA, officially dating back to 1792. Architectural remnants of the original distillery have been found on-site and support the claim that the Buffalo Trace Distillery is the oldest in the nation, dating whiskey production on the site to as early as 1775. The distillery was also the first in the USA to have steam-heated warehouses, allowing whiskey to continue to mature during cold winter months. The distillery is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places and as a National Historic Landmark. The Blanton’s brand was launched in 1984, prior to the renaming of the George T. Stagg distillery to the Buffalo Trace Distillery. Blanton’s claims to have been the first commercially produced Single Barrel Bourbon in the modern age and has consistently won awards for its quality since launch.
Blanton’s is produced alongside the other Sazerac Company products produced at the Buffalo Trace Distillery, such as the Van Winkle line, Buffalo Trace, Stagg jr, Weller, E.H. Taylor, and Eagle Rare. The distillery uses corn from Kentucky and Indiana, as well as wheat, malted barley, and rye. They also use Kentucky limestone water to produce their mash. While they keep their mash bills a secret, it is suspected that many of the products produced at the Buffalo Trace Distillery use the same mash bill, including Blanton’s. The primary differences which set Blanton’s production apart from its cousins produced in the same facility are the warehouse it is aged in and the fact that it is selected by master distillers from single barrels. Blanton’s is aged in a metal-clad warehouse which remains warmer than other Buffalo Trace warehouses, because of this, the whiskey ages faster and can achieve a flavor not usually found in 6-8 year old whiskey. Blanton’s is bottled at 46.5% ABV.