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Type Bourbon whiskey
Manufacturer Sazerac Company
Country of origin Kentucky, United States
Introduced 1984
Alcohol by volume c. 46.50% (varies)
Proof (US) 93
Related products Buffalo Trace

Blanton's is a brand of bourbon whiskey produced and marketed by the Sazerac Company. It is distilled in Frankfort, Kentucky at the Buffalo Trace Distillery.

The Blanton's brand was launched in 1984 under the guidance of the distillery's master distiller Elmer T. Lee, as the first modern bourbon brand marketed as a single barrel bourbon.[1] The original brand name was "Blanton's Single Barrel Bourbon". A single barrel bourbon is one for which each bottling batch is produced from the contents of only one particular aging barrel – not mixed with whiskey from any other barrels (and not blended with neutral spirits, colorings, or flavorings). The company says that producing a high quality whiskey using this production method requires constant monitoring of every barrel in the middle of the warehouse by the Master Distiller. The barrels are dumped by hand without using machinery. There are eight different stopper designs, each with a different letter of the alphabet molded into it and topped with a figurine of a racehorse and jockey. When placed in order, spelling "B L A N T O N' S", the horse and jockey's poses display eight different scenes of a horse race, from standing at the gate, to crossing the finish line with a win.

Blanton's Single Barrel Bourbon is typically aged for 9 years. It is aged in Warehouse H at Buffalo Trace, which is the only metal-cladded warehouse at Buffalo Trace and was commissioned for construction by one of the distillery's early leaders, Albert B. Blanton, shortly after the end of the Prohibition era. Being metal, the warehouse transfers heat quicker than brick warehouses, which allows for more rapid aging.[2]

Albert Blanton and the Buffalo Trace distillery

Blanton's bourbon was named in honor of one of the distillery's early leaders, Albert B. Blanton, who the company claims spent most of his life preserving the tradition of handcrafted bourbon. Blanton worked at the facility now known as the Buffalo Trace Distillery for approximately 55 years. He was born and raised on a farm just outside Frankfort, Kentucky, and he began working at the distillery (then called the O.F.C. Distillery) in 1897 as an office boy when he was 16 years old. Over the next few years he reportedly worked in every department, and in 1912 he was appointed superintendent of the distillery, its warehouse, and bottling shop – at the same time that the distillery was renamed to become the George T. Stagg Distillery. He became president of the whiskey plant in 1921. Blanton died in 1959.

The company refers to him as "Colonel Blanton", as he held the honorific title of Kentucky Colonel (a relatively common honorific bestowed by the Commonwealth of Kentucky). The distillery had several owners during its history, and was renamed by its current owner, the Sazerac Company, to become the Buffalo Trace Distillery in 2001.

Elmer T. Lee, the originator of Blanton's, was hired by the distillery by Col. Blanton himself in 1949.[3] He introduced Blanton's in 1984, a year before he retired, as the first modern brand of bourbon marketed as single barrel bourbon. Lee continued to act as an ambassador for Buffalo Trace until his death in 2013.[4]


Blanton's Bourbon has been released with several different label colors, stopper finishes, and proofs.

  • Blanton's in the U.S. is most commonly bottled with a beige label at 93 proof
  • Blanton's in Japan is most commonly bottled at 80 proof with a black label
  • Blanton's Special Reserve is bottled at 80 proof with a green label
  • Blanton's Gold is bottled at 103 proof with gold colored label and stopper
  • Blanton's Silver is bottled at 98 proof and has silver colored label and stopper
  • Blanton's Barrel Proof is bottled at variable proofs with a copper colored label

Reviews and awards

Blanton's has been highly rated by spirit ratings organizations. The San Francisco World Spirits Competition gave it one double gold, three gold, and two silver medal between 2007 and 2012.[5] In 2014, Blanton's was awarded a silver medal at the International Wine & Spirits Competition (in the United Kingdom). The Beverage Testing Institute gave the bourbon a score of 94, well above the average score for bourbons. Wine Enthusiast raters have generally been somewhat less impressed with Blanton's, rating it in the 85–89 point interval on one occasion and in the 90–95 point interval on another.[5]

In popular culture

  • In the HBO comedy television series Bored to Death, Ted Danson's character George Christopher is frequently shown drinking Blanton's Bourbon (with two cubes of ice) usually while discussing his problems with Jonathan Ames (Jason Schwartzman).
  • Blanton's is poured by Kevin Spacey's character Frank Underwood, in the Netflix television series House of Cards, on a few occasions.
  • In the FX television series Justified, Chief Deputy Art Mullen (Nick Searcy) usually has a bottle of Blanton's in his office.[6]
  • Blanton's is shown early in the 2014 film Gone Girl when Ben Affleck's character asks for a bourbon.
  • Blanton's is shown being drunk by protagonist John Wick in the film of the same name.
  • In the Fox television series Dollhouse, the character Senator Reed is seen drinking Blanton's in episode 5 season 2 "The Public Eye"
  • In season 2, episode 10 of the Showtime television series The Affair, Ruth Wilson's character, Alison, orders a Blanton's neat at the bar while talking with her estranged husband, Cole (Joshua Jackson).
  • Keanu Reeves in John Wick orders a Blantons while staying at the flat iron building in NYC
  • Henry Standing Bear is seen drinking Blanton's in Season 1, Episode 4 of Longmire


  1. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  2. Blanton's Single Barrel Bourbon – Review, Whiskey Lately Archived October 11, 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  3. Buffalo Trace Master Distiller Emeritus Elmer T. Lee, Creator of Blanton's, Passes at 93, Business Lexington, July 16, 2013.
  4. The Legendary Craftsmen: Elmer T. Lee, Buffalo Trace website
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