Best Bourbons | Buffalo Trace Distillery | Review | Singel Barrels

Every Blanton’s Bourbon Reviewed (Guide 2021)

Last updated Apr 13, 2021

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by Matty Sims

Glencairn Whiskey Glass

The legend of Blanton’s bourbon goes something like this: During Albert Bacon Blanton tenure as the master distiller at the George T. Stagg Distillery (now Buffalo Trace Distillery), he would regularly select honey barrels from the center of Warehouse H to impress government officials and the like. Colonel Blanton recognized early that Warehouse H was special. Its metal walls created an optimal aging environment where the change in temperature happened quickly causing more interaction between the bourbon and the charred barrels.

Colonel Blanton’s never got to see and taste his bourbon namesake as he passed away in 1959. In 1984, Elmer T. Lee, George T. Stagg Master Distiller who worked under Blanton, was tasked with creating a special bourbon. No one at that time was releasing single barrels. Blanton’s changed the bourbon landscape. Along with Booker’s small batch and barrel proof offerings, Elmer’s original single barrel bourbon saved bourbon.

Blanton’s uses Buffalo Trace’s mashbill #2 which is a higher rye than mashbill #1 (which includes Buffalo Trace, Eagle Rare, and EH Taylor). Other Buffalo Trace bourbon brands using this mashbill include Rock Hill Farm, Elmer T. Lee, Ancient Age, and Hancock Reserve.

Blanton’s tends to be the bourbon beginner’s unicorn as the bottle is unique with its sexy, sleek design along with the horse stoppers (more on that later). It then becomes fashionable for some bourbon drinkers to dump on Blanton’s as overrated. For $50 to $60, Blanton’s is an incredible value and delicious. Plus let’s be honest, if it weren’t for Elmer T. Lee creating the original single barrel a lot of bourbon drinkers would be drinking light whiskey or some other atrocity. So put some respect on Blanton’s name.

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Every Blanton’s Bourbon Released

Every Blantons Bourbon

You may be asking, “How many types of Blanton’s are there?” The short answer: more than you’d think. The long answer: Below you will find every standard Blanton’s expression released worldwide plus limited releases and extremely rare unicorns. This list was researched from several places but check out Warehouse H and De Wine Spot.

Every Blanton's Expression and Label Released
NameLabel DetailsProofNotes
Original Single BarrelBrown93 ProofStandard U.S. Release
Special ReserveGreen80 ProofFor markets that tax alcohol based on proof
Black EditionBlack80 ProofJapan Only
Red EditionRed93 ProofJapan Only
Silver EditionSilver98 ProofDiscontinued Duty-Free Bottling
Gold EditionGold103 ProofGold Etched on Glass
Straight From the Barrel EditionBrownBarrel Proof - VariesUncut and Unfiltered
Blanton's 30th Anniversary Single Barrel BourbonBrown93 ProofReleased in 2014 in Japan to Commemorate 30 Years
2006 Blanton’s Straight From The Barrel Suddeutsche Zeitung Magazin EditionBlackBarrel Proof - VariesGerman Release
1500 bottles produced
2014 La Maison du Whisky Festivalwhisky.fr exclusive Edition100 Proof1 of 4 different labels and proofs released for 2014
2010 La Maison du Whisky Festival105 Proof Edition105 ProofChosen in 2010
Blanton's Single Barrel 60th Anniversary La Maison Du WhiskyHorse Race Edition120 Proof60th anniversary of La Maison du Whisky shop in Paris
Barrels 6, 7, 8, 9
2015 La Maison du Whisky FestivalBourbon Street Edition100 ProofChosen by La Maison du Whisky shop in Paris
Barrels 569, 570, 571, 572
2017 La Maison du Whisky FestivalCellar Book Edition100 Proof - 252 bottles produced (unverified)
110 Proof - Barrel 1091, 234 bottles (unverified)
120 Proof - Barrel 1090, 204 bottles (unverified)
127 Proof - 202 Bottles (unverified)
Chosen by La Maison du Whisky shop in Paris
2020 La Maison du Whisky FestivalFrench Connection EditionBarrel 452, 210 Bottles, 100 Proof
Barrel 453, 210 Bottles, 110 Proof
Barrel 454, 210 Bottles, 120 Proof
Barrel 455, 200 Bottles, 129.8 Proof
Chosen by La Maison du Whisky shop in Paris
Cellar BookLittle Big Book EditionBarrels 21,22 - 110 Proof - France
Barrel 20 -110 Proof
Barres 23, 24 - 128.8 Proof
2019 La Maison du Whisky FestivalThe Chronicles EditionBarrels 884, 885 - 110 Proof
Barrels 882, 883 - 136.6 Proof
Chosen by La Maison du Whisky shop in Paris
2018 La Maison du Whisky FestivalGolden Promise Edition103 ProofChosen by La Maison du Whisky shop in Paris
Bottled for the LMDW bar
2014 La Maison du Whisky FestivalKentucky Edition - "The Race"102 ProofChosen by La Maison du Whisky shop in Paris
1 of 4 different labels and proofs released for 2014
2014 La Maison du Whisky FestivalKentucky Edition - "The Farm"98 ProofChosen by La Maison du Whisky shop in Paris
1 of 4 different labels and proofs released for 2014
2014 La Maison du Whisky FestivalKentucky Edition - "Warehouse H"96 ProofChosen by La Maison du Whisky shop in Paris
1 of 4 different labels and proofs released for 2014
2013 La Maison du Whisky FestivalParis by Day Edition100 ProofChosen by La Maison du Whisky shop in Paris
1 of 2 different labels and proofs released for 2013
2013 La Maison du Whisky FestivalParis by Night Edition120 ProofChosen by La Maison du Whisky shop in Paris
1 of 2 different labels and proofs released for 2013
2012 La Maison du Whisky FestivalVintage Single Barrel Edition93 ProofChosen by La Maison du Whisky shop in Paris
The True Unicorn of Unicorns for Blanton's
2011 La Maison du Whisky Festival112 Proof Edition112 ProofChosen by La Maison du Whisky shop in Paris
2009 La Maison du Whisky Festival111 Proof Edition111 ProofChosen by La Maison du Whisky shop in Paris
2008 La Maison du Whisky Festival100 Proof Edition100 ProofChosen by La Maison du Whisky shop in Paris
2007 La Maison du Whisky FestivalPrivate Stock Edition93 ProofChosen by La Maison du Whisky shop in Paris
Handwritten label
1999 La Maison du Whisky FestivalThe Collectors Edition103 ProofChosen by La Maison du Whisky shop in Paris
1998 La Maison du Whisky Festival50th Anniversary Edition93 ProofChosen by La Maison du Whisky shop in Paris
2020 M&P Wine and Spirits Festival Poland2020 "Special Release" Edition117 ProofBottled exclusively for the M&P Wine & Spirits Festival, Poland
2019 M&P Wine and Spirits Festival Poland2019 "Special Release" Edition100 ProofBottled exclusively for the M&P Wine & Spirits Festival, Poland
2018 M&P Wine and Spirits Festival PolandPoland Limited Edition100 ProofBottled exclusively for the M&P Wine & Spirits Festival, Poland
2017 M&P Wine and Spirits Festival PolandVIII M&P Edition100 ProofBottled exclusively for the M&P Wine & Spirits Festival, Poland
2016 M&P Wine and Spirits Festival PolandM&P VII Edition100 ProofBottled exclusively for the M&P Wine & Spirits Festival, Poland
2015 M&P Wine and Spirits Festival PolandM&P VI Edition80 ProofBottled exclusively for the M&P Wine & Spirits Festival, Poland
2014 M&P Wine and Spirits Festival PolandM&P V Edition80 ProofBottled exclusively for the M&P Wine & Spirits Festival, Poland
Sterling Silvergift to Japanese retailers93 ProofLess than 100 Released
Never for Sale
1991/1993
2019 Alabama BicentennialBrown93 ProofCelebrating Alabama's 200th anniversary
2 Barrels Selected and Released Through Alabama ABC Stores
1986 Frankfort, KY 200thGold Etched93 ProofBuilding Stopper
One of First Ever Blanton's Special Release
The True Unicorn of Unicorns for Blanton's
2009 Tezuka 100th AnniversaryBlack93 ProofGift to employees of Tezuka Corporation for the company's 100th anniversary
Released as 500 ml
1994 "Pocket Watch" EditionBrown93 ProofHolograph on the hang-tag
1991 Memory of YujiroBrown93 ProofMemorialized of Yujiro, the Japanese Elvis
2006 My Only Blanton's - Individual ProgramGold130.9 ProofProgram offered by Takara Barrel proof bottling
7 Barrels Selected
Nicknamed the "Chastity Belt" bottle
My Only Blanton's -
Co-Owner Program
White130.9 ProofProgram offered by Takara Barrel proof bottling
4 Barrels
2018 Greek LabelBlack129.6 ProofEurope Special Release of Straight From the Barrel
2019 "Medicinal Whiskey" Private SelectionWhite Prescription Label93 ProofSingle Barrel Picked by DGC in Greenville, SC, and The Book Club in Charlottesville, Virginia
Aged 6 years 9 months
2012 "Gift of the Trees" Centennial CelebrationBlack93 ProofSt. Louis Market
Commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Japanese government's gift of Cherry Blossom Trees to Washington, DC

Blanton’s Straight from the Barrel Review

Nose – 94 out of 100 Points

The nose reminds me of thick, unctuous caramel-soaked walnuts. I also get charred oak and leather. Maybe just a bit of plum. There’s no mistaking this is a barrel proof bourbon.

Taste – 96 out of 100 Points

Cooked down cherries with a smidge of baking spice. Deep barrel char and charred cinnamon at the back of the palate. Sweet notes abound with vanilla, honey, and caramel. Ending with a nice pepper heat. The palate is full of intense reduced flavors. It also has a great mouthfeel.

Finish – 95 out of 100 Points

The finish is long with subtle red fruit, charred oak, and lingering vanilla.

Complexity – 95 out of 100 Points

SFTB is complex from start to finish. This Blanton’s offers bold flavors balanced without losing any punch.

Value – 92 out of 100 Points

Blanton’s Straight from the Barrel is the premium bourbon in Blanton’s lineup at $150. The big, bold flavors make this worth the buy.

Verdict – 94.4 out of 100 Points

The Bourbon Bard Gold Medal

Blanton’s Gold Single Barrel Bourbon Review

Blanton’s Gold Single Barrel Bourbon Matty's Review

Nose – 93 out of 100 Points

The nose is bolder with deep barrel char as the standout. Sweet cinnamon and vanilla also bloom and caramel rounds out the aromas.

Taste – 91 out of 100 Points

Crisp and coats the palate then the flavor explodes. The perfect amount of baking spice and just a pop of sweet pepper. The back of the palate has just a hint of burnt caramel but the finishing flavors were a dark, bitter coffee and toasted oak.

Finish – 90 out of 100 Points

More oak, coffee, charred baking spice, and black pepper for a long finish.

Complexity – 92 out of 100 Points

The complexity was good. I enjoyed the coffee notes that counterbalanced some of the oak notes. I did find myself longing for sweetness to balance. More caramel would’ve taken this from good to great.

Value – 89 out of 100 Points

Blanton’s shines at higher proofs. At $120 suggested retail, I find myself wanting that extra flavor from the SFTB.

Verdict – Silver 91 out of 100 Points

The Bourbon Bard Silver Medal

Blanton’s Single Barrel Review

Blanton’s The Original Single Barrel Bourbon Matty's Review

What brand of bourbon does John Wick drink? Blanton’s, the original single barrel bourbon whiskey, is his drink of choice.

Nose – 91 out of 100 Points

Solid nose. Deep caramel, leather, cinnamon, and nutmeg all harmoniously. Just a hint of vanilla tying everything together.

Taste – 90 out of 100 Points

Some of the depth from the nose disappears but that’s a co sequence of the proof. The front of the palate is baking spice, toasted oak, and vanilla cream. Followed by caramel and leather.

Finish – 90 out of 100 Points

The finish is medium. It’s a baking spice and oak party. Some underlying peppercorns.

Complexity – 89 out of 100 Points

The original single barrel offers traditional bourbon flavors with good complexity.

Value – 91 out of 100 Points

For $60, it’s a buy all day. The rub: it’s allocated and when you do find it you’re often looking over $100. That makes the question of whether it’s worth it trickier.

Verdict – Silver 90.2 out of 100 Points

The Bourbon Bard Silver Medal

Blanton’s Frequently Asked Questions

Why can’t I find Blanton’s?

You can’t find Blanton’s because it’s allocated and as I mentioned it tends to be the bourbon beginner’s unicorn bottle. Add the horse which people want to collect and you have a recipe for a bourbon that’s extremely challenging to find at retail.

How much should I pay for Blanton’s?

People also ask, “Is Blanton’s worth the money?” and “Is Blanton’s overrated?” A fair price for Blanton’s is between $50 to $60. Whether it’s worth it to you to pay more is quite subjective. I personally wouldn’t pay more than $75. For others, the ceiling may be higher. Recap: Blanton’s is worth whatever you’re willing to pay, and it’s not overrated. I’ve never seen anyone say it was the best bourbon ever.

What do the letters on Blanton’s mean?

Blanton's Horse Toppers

Starting in 1999, Buffalo Trace started releasing 8 stoppers that spell Blanton’s and show a horse and jockey in stride from start to victory. The two N’s are unique as the horse will have a different stride on the first and second N stopper.

Keep this between us but you can buy all eight horse stoppers from Buffalo Trace for $40. Also, if you collect all 8 and contact Buffalo Trace they will mount then stoppers on a display and send it back to you. Apart from doing that, there are some seriously cool Blanton’s displays made from barrel staves.

How long does Blanton’s age?

Each Blanton’s Single Barrel will be aged differently. However, most Blanton’s bourbon is aged between 6 to 8 years.

Where can I find a bottle of Blanton’s?

Good question, but it’s tricky. There’s no one right answer, but here’s some advice:

  • Build relationships with a store
  • Build relationships within a bourbon group
  • Hunt like a Maniac (see below)

Blanton's Hunting Meme

Can I buy Blanton’s Bourbon online?

Yes, you can buy Blanton’s online but many of the online retailers selling it are marking it up 5 to 10 times retail. Buyer beware.

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Why trust The Bourbon Bard?

Written by Matty Sims

Matty Sims is a storyteller who loves bourbon. He has been drinking and studying whiskey for over 10 years. He has also been featured on sites like Bourbon Sippers, Explore Whiskey, and Inside Hook, partnered with dozens of distilleries, and reviewed hundreds of whiskeys.
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