Blanton's is a brand owned by Age International Inc. In 1991, Takara Shuzo Co., Ltd. acquired a stake in Age International and later gained complete control of the company. Takara Shuzo is a Japanese company that makes all sorts of beverages, including sake, bourbon, and scotch, and has subsidiaries around the world.
Even though the brand is owned by Age International, Buffalo Trace Distillery actually produces Blanton's and distributes it in the United States. All Blanton's comes from Warehouse "H," a metal warehouse that Colonel Blanton thought produced the best bourbon.
In addition to Blanton's, Buffalo Trace produces several other bourbons for Age International using its lower-corn Mash Bill #2. These brands include Ancient Age, Elmer T. Lee, Hancock's Reserve and Rock Hill Farm.
Blanton's markets itself as the first single barrel whiskey. In the United States, only Blanton's Original Single Barrel is widely available. In Japan, and much of the rest of the world, however, five or six varieties of Blanton's are available:
|Original Single Barrel||Brown||93||Standard U.S. Release|
|Special Reserve||Green||80||For markets that tax alcohol based on proof|
|Black Edition||Black||80||Japan Only|
|Red Takara Japanese Edition Bourbon||Red||93||Japan Only|
|Silver Edition||Silver||98||Discontinued Duty-Free Bottling|
|Gold Edition||Gold||103||No actual label. The text that normally appears on the label is etched onto the glass in gold.|
|Straight From The Barrel Edition||Brown||130||Uncut and Unfiltered|
There is no barrel selection for Blanton's. That is, certain barrels from Warehouse H are selected as fitting the Blanton's profile and are simply bottled at different proofs to create the various expressions. The only difference between Blanton's Gold Edition and the Original Single Barrel is the amount of Kentucky limestone water added before bottling. Because this is a single barrel bourbon, however, there will difference between bottles.
In addition to the above bottlings, there are various limited edition bottlings of Blanton's for La Maison du Whisky, a specialty liquor store in Paris. These are store picks of Blanton's, but each edition has a special label that departs dramatically from the standard Blanton's monochrome labels.
Moreover, to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Blanton's Single Barrel, there is also a 30th-anniversary release (only for the Japanese market).
If you are lucky enough to try a few of these, which one is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!