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Blanton's Burbon Unique Bottle

Blanton's comes in a unique bottle and eight different horse and jockey combinations on the stopper.

Blanton’s Bourbon

A Premium Single Barrel Bourbon

 

Single-barrel bourbon has become increasingly popular, and if that's what you typically drink you should write the folks at the Buffalo Trace Distillery a thank-you note. Buffalo Trace is where they produce Blanton's, a single-barrel bourbon that debuted in 1984 and was good enough to inspire the trend that all of the other brands are now following.

 

With every bourbon there is a story, and Blanton’s honors one of the legends of the bourbon trade in the 20th century. It is named for Colonel Albert B. Blanton, who worked for Buffalo Trace for more than 55 years and deserves a lot of credit for its success. Among other things, Blanton is legendary for having the pull to get a special government permit that allowed him to continue making whiskey during Prohibition, the only distillery in Kentucky that didn’t go dry. After that was repealed, one of his jobs was to get the distillery back up to the increased production required after Prohibition, and to do so he erected a four-story tin warehouse that is still in operation today, the famed Warehouse H where many of the bottles still come from. You can see it if you take the Buffalo Trace Distillery Tour, which is well worth your time if you want to travel the Bourbon Trail.

 

Long before the brand that bears his name came to market, Colonel Blanton would occasionally produce and bottle a single-barrel bourbon for himself and selected family and friends. That’s more difficult a task than it may sound. Creating a quality single-barrel bourbon is a nerve-wracking process, because there is no margin for error. It’s not like you can mix and match barrels with unbalanced flavors until you find a combination that works, so the care of each individual barrel takes on a great importance. The reason the Blanton’s is so successful is that its distillers do a masterful job of aging the barrels perfectly, and not bottling them until the blend of flavors is exactly right.

 

Attention to Detail

That attention to detail becomes apparent before the bottle is open, or indeed before it’s even taken off the shelf. The bottles are intricate and stylish, and would be worthy of display except that this would mean that all of your guests would know you had some on hand and would demand a glass. Even if they had never sampled bourbon before, the rich amber liquid visible through the glass would cry out to be tasted. In addition, one neat thing about Blanton's is the stoppers. There are eight different designs, one for each letter of the name, each of which features a horse and jockey at various stages of a race. When you collect them all, you'll have the story of a winning ride (and a wicked hangover if you're in too much of a rush to get there).

 

Taste

As for the taste … well, let’s just say there’s a reason Blanton's flagship bourbon, the only one commonly available domestically, packs a punch at 93-proof, but the taste is smooth and sweet. It has a hint of citrus and strong undertones of caramel and vanilla, and is a fantastic sipping bourbon. If you’re out for the night at a place that serves quality liquor, this is what you can order if you want to both get a glass of really enjoyable bourbon and impress your companions at the same time. Moreover, the aroma to Blanton’s is perfect – I’ve never tasted a bourbon with a better nose. If they sold it as perfume, I’d buy some for my wife.

 

If you’re overseas, you might find yourself drinking Blanton’s Special Reserve. This is a little less strong (80-proof), but has a sweetness and spice to it that recalls the flagship bottle. Though it’s not available domestically it is worth checking out, especially if you spot a bottle in the Duty Free shop on an international trip. Blanton’s Silver Edition and Blanton’s Gold Edition are similarly only found overseas and in domestic Duty Free stations, so while you won’t be able to get a shot at the airport bar you should pick up a bottle or two on your way onto the plane. You know you’ll want a quality bottle on hand that first night or two overseas, when you’re stuck in that strange hotel room trying to figure out the correct phrase that will get the people at the front desk to bring you more towels, and don’t want to go to a bar and risk getting some random blue antifreeze instead of bourbon just because you pronounced a word or two wrong.

 

Straight Bourbon

Blanton's is best enjoyed neat, or perhaps on the rocks. Combining it with something else won’t cause the end of Western Civilization, but if you're going to use this in a mixed drink make sure it's worth the effort. Don't go dumping a couple of shots worth into a glass of ginger ale. You want to savor your Blanton’s rather than gulping it down as fast as possible. Anything else is a waste, especially considering the combination of quality and price.

 

The latter is the one downside. A 750ml bottle of Blanton’s will run you about fifty bucks, so it definitely falls into the premium bourbon category. It’s worth it, mind you, but keep this in mind before you break it out for company. Make sure your guests are of the same quality as the bourbon, or else serve something a little inferior and keep the good stuff for yourself and those who will truly appreciate it. After all, that’s what the Colonel himself did.