What is Blanton’s Bourbon?
Named for Albert B. Blanton, Blanton’s is a high-rye bourbon made in Frankfort, Kentucky. It was introduced by Elmer T. Lee, master distiller of George T. Stagg distillery (now called Buffalo Trace Distillery), in 1984. Lee (and Blanton’s) is credited for pushing premium bourbon in a time when it did not make financial sense to do so, and in turn Blanton’s is considered one of the bourbons that created the modern bourbon boom. The brand also claims it was the first single barrel bourbon product, a category that’s become increasingly popular over time. Since the original Blanton’s release, the brand has incrementally launched additional expressions to the brand: Special Reserve, Gold Edition and Straight From the Barrel.
Who makes Blanton’s Bourbon?
Buffalo Trace Distillery is the sole producer of Blanton’s Bourbon and its many expressions and limited edition bottlings. All Blanton’s whiskey begins as Buffalo Trace’s #2 mashbill (high-rye) and matures for 6 to 8 years in the distillery’s Warehouse H, a metal-clad rickhouse that’s said to more rapidly age the whiskey inside.
The question of who owns Blanton’s is a more complicated story. Blanton’s was created at the George T. Stagg distillery, but the distillery was owned by Age International at the time. Age International commissioned Elmer T. Lee to make a premium bourbon for the booming Japanese market. In 1992, Age International sold the Stagg distillery and its brands to a Japanese company called Takara Holdings, who then sold the distillery but not the Age International brands to Sazerac (who owns Buffalo Trace). Basically, Sazerac is contracted to make Blanton’s and owns the rights to sell Blanton’s in the U.S., but Takara owns the brand itself.
Where can I buy Blanton’s Bourbon?
Because all Buffalo Trace Distillery bourbons are allocated and there isn’t a widely understood rhyme or reason to how those products wind up where they wind up, the short answer is this: no one knows. Generally, Blanton’s will not be readily available at any liquor store in America, and if it is on the shelf often its price is likely marked up significantly. Your best bet at landing a bottle is to build a relationship with your local liquor store: talk to the employees, ask questions and inquire about allocated product delivery. We find this approach more successful in the long run than one based upon cold calling numerous area liquor stores and asking about Blanton’s inventory.
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