Today, on February 28th, we celebrate the 143rd birthday of Colonel Albert Blanton, after whom one of the most coveted bourbon bottles in the world is named—Blanton’s! What makes Blanton’s so special?

First of all, the Blanton’s bottle was born in 1984 by Blanton’s apprentice, Elmer T. Lee, who also has a bottle named after him (and Elad even wrote about it here). Colonel Blanton was born about 100 years earlier and started working at Buffalo Trace in 1897 when he was 16 as an errand boy. He became president at age 21 and retired in 1952. Quite the advancement!

Elmer T. Lee himself retired in 1984, and before retiring, he brought his stamp to the world, which wasn’t 100% his but still remarkable—Elmer introduced the world’s first single-barrel bourbon! He remembered that during his apprenticeship with Blanton, Blanton would honor his guests with his favorite whiskey. He would go to Warehouse H, the only one with tin walls instead of concrete, where the “honey barrels” were stored. They were called honey barrels not because they contained honey but because they faced the open windows and were lightly sun-kissed. Compared to other barrels, their color was a golden honey hue. Blanton would pour from these barrels for himself and his guests, and this single-barrel concept charmed Elmer, who turned it into a staple in the American whiskey world. To this day, Warehouse H is one of the few in the U.S., and possibly the world, with climate control. A little bird told me that, for example, in Scotland, it’s strictly forbidden to control temperature, but here, great efforts are made to maintain humidity and warmth!

Another unique aspect of the bottle is its distinctive shape, which indeed resembles a honeycomb. Additionally, the stopper features 8 horse-racing positions, the favorite pastime of Kentucky residents. Each stopper is in a different position, and each has a letter that can spell out “BLANTONS.” Anyone who has the complete set can send it to the distillery to have it mounted on a cool horseshoe. I’m missing the “T”! If anyone has it, let me know!

Another contribution Elmer made to the American whiskey world with this bottle was creating the “premium bourbon” category, which didn’t exist before. This was made possible by the bourbon being aged 6-8 years and coming from single barrels, making it rarer. As my son explained, Travis Scott’s shoe costs $2,489 because there are so few of them! It’s not the common Jordan shoe that costs a few hundred dollars. What has the world come to? Can’t we play basketball in sneakers and drink Blanton’s for $60? Anyway, anything whiskey and horses, I’m all in, and you know it. Happy Birthday, Blanton’s!


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