History: Buffalo Trace is a who’s who of iconic bourbon personalities. Names like Stagg, Lee, Wheatley, and Blanton have all graced the grounds in Frankfort, KY where Buffalo Trace Distillery produces and bottles Blanton’s. Recognized as the first single barrel, Elmer T. Lee created Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon as a tribute to the previous master distiller of the George T. Stagg Distillery, Albert B. Blanton. Now known as the Buffalo Trace Distillery which is owned by the Sazerac Company, Buffalo Trace ages Blanton’s for 6-8 years in Blanton’s favorite location, a metal warehouse known as “Warehouse H.” It shares the popular number two mash bill, but specifics are not known. Blanton’s is bottled at 93 proof in the United States, but also has several other offerings in Straight From the Barrel, Special Edition, and Gold Edition available in overseas markets. Blanton’s is known for having a beautiful, round bottle with a rustic looking label. It contains a collectible stopper with the eight strides of a honoring the tradition of horse racing in Kentucky.
Nose: 19 (out of 25 possible points)
Citrus and tangy notes open up to the traditional mash bill number 2 notes of caramel and vanilla. The nose a little thin and I would prefer to get more out of it.
Palate: 18 (out of 25 possible points)
There’s a lot of orange zest and toffee up front, followed by vanilla and caramel. The mouthfeel is initially thick and buttery, but dissipates very quickly.
Finish: 20 (out of 25 possible points)
The finish adds some nutty notes and has some slight oak and caramel to balance it out.
Price: 5 (out of 10 possible points)
At around $60, Blanton’s feels a little overpriced for the proof. If it were more in the 100-110 proof range, I feel the price fits, but it’s just not there for me.
Availability: 5 (out of 10 possible points)
In Michigan, I can hit a few stores and buy Blanton’s at one of them. Nationally, however, it is much more difficult to find it on the shelf. I’m basing my score on my access.
Presentation: 5 (out of 5 possible points)
The short, round bottle and stopper are two of the more iconic characteristics of Blanton’s. Each horse stride carries a different letter spelling out B-L-A-N-T-O-N-S and is easily recognizable.
Final Report: 72 (out of 100 possible points)
Blanton’s and I are at odds a little bit. I want to enjoy Blanton’s because of its’ namesake and the mark he left in the bourbon industry. He was a trendsetter. He bridged the racial gap in the industry. He came out of prohibition stronger than he went into it. The man Albert B. Blanton deserved to have a great bouron recognizing his impact in the industry. But with that being said, Blanton’s comes up shy for me. Is it a bad bourbon? Absolutely not. But are there better bourbons for the price and proof? Absolutely. Blanton’s scores highly in the presentation, but falls flat in many other categories. It’s a great introductory bourbon that anyone building a bar should incorporate; however, to me there are other bourbons I would rather consider my house bourbon. It lacks in complexity and proof, is too difficult to find, and the high price point all drive me to other options. If you’ve never had Blanton’s, I would recommend trying it at a bar, rather than spending the $60.