Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon is the brand that created the modern category of “Single Barrel Bourbon”. There had been single barrel whiskeys before Blanton’s. In the 19th century all straight Bourbons were single barrel as the distillery sold barrels and the customer would go to the liquor store or tavern and fill their own bottles or flask from the barrel to purchase their whiskey. Even after Prohibition there were brands that did single barrel products such as Old Forester and Old Overholt. These were special products where the consumer would purchase a whole barrel as a personal bottling. Old Forester Presidential Reserve was even picked by Brown-Forman’s President Owsley Brown. However they never really marketed these products to the average consumer as Ancient Age International did Blanton’s.
The brand gets its name from Albert Blanton who ran the distillery starting before Prohibition until he retired in the early 1950s. The distillery went independent from Schenley in the early 1980s and was looking for a premium brand to compete with Maker’s Mark. Elmer T. Lee remembered that Mr. Blanton would always find really good barrels of Bourbon and had the whiskey bottled one barrel at a time to give as gifts. He suggested that they find these barrels and bottle them one barrel at a time, thus creating the idea of a single barrel product that was available in all markets. The idea was a success and soon other distilleries were also offering single barrel Bourbons and ryes.
Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon
Age: Bottled on 1-26-2017, barrel no. 677. From warehouse H, rick no. 44
Nose: caramel and apples with backing spices and tobacco
Taste: Rich vanilla and apples with cinnamon and nutmeg spices with a little oak. Tasted with a dried cranberry brings out the caramel and sweet baking spice, pushing the apple to the background. Tasted with a pecan and the vanilla comes forward and an additional creaminess is added with apples and baking spice.
Finish: not overly long but dry with oak and a hint of white pepper. The cranberry lengthens the finish and makes it a little more oak and less pepper. The pecan makes the finish more fruity and brandy-like before drying out with oak tannins.
This is a very nice drink of Bourbon. It pairs well with a cigar as well. Today I am having an Arturo Fuente Hemingway Between the Lines with the Blantons.The smoke brings out the tobacco and oak notes while retaining the sweet vanilla and fruit in the Blanton’s. The Bourbon gives the smoke a nice sweet fruit note. A very good pairing.
Photos Courtesy of Michael Veach