While up until the most recent days, the only Blanton’s product adorning shelves (or being tucked away out back) was the original single barrel product.
If you dig back through The Bourbon Finder Archives you’ll see our review for Blanton’s Gold Edition which is now available in the U.S. market (I’m using the word “available” very loosely here). At the time I reviewed Blanton’s Gold I had no expectation of seeing it show up domestically, and certainly hadn’t considered seeing the big brother–nicknamed SFTB by enthusiasts–offered in the United States; however, digging more into this development I’m starting to think it makes sense.
A barrel being dumped at the distillery (photo: Buffalo Trace Distillery)
Blanton’s remains today what it always was: a premium product. Now before you rip me apart for that statement–please understand that I’m painting with broad strokes. I realize the emotional pendulum swings very far (in each direction) over not just Blanton’s, but many of the products from Buffalo Trace Distillery. Hear me out.
While there’s no way he could have predicted the current bourbon climate or economy, Elmer T. Lee began the brand as an homage to Col. Albert B. Blanton, and did so by following the Colonel’s own method of cherry-picking the “honey barrels” from the center cut of [the now infamous] Warehouse H. Check out what they had to say on the Blanton’s website about the brand:
Elmer T. Lee introduced the world to Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon a year before he retired. In doing so, he revolutionized the industry by creating the “super premium” category of bourbon with the world’s first single barrel bourbon. This idea was somewhat radical at the time because it challenged the identity of what most folks thought bourbon to be. Today, most distilleries offer one or more single barrel bottlings, but Blanton’s was the first, and we still believe the finest, single barrel on the market.
Like the whiskey or hate it. Like the prices or hate them. Bourbon has evolved, and is now as much a luxury hobby as it is a blue collar spirit. In that sense, I think it’s great to see super premium products offered–even if the price is out of reach of my budget.
Enthusiasts can really help push a market, and I’m here to see just how good things can get. Speaking of which, let’s pull the horse and jockey off this bottle and get to work!