Blanton's Bourbon - The Hypebeast of Brown Water

An honest review of one of the Bourbon World's most coveted spirits. Pappy's favorite son, Blanton's.


Jonny Haines aka The Bourbon Bender

5/25/20235 min read

Blanton's Single Barrel Bourbon 2023 Release

Dumped on 2/16/23 | Barrel No.196 | Warehouse H | Rick No.2 | Letter T

Available Only mostly in bar/restaurants, but lately seeing a return to liquor store shelves.

Proof: 93

Flavor Profile: Spicy, Roasted, Toast and Vanilla.

Actual MSRP: $65 / Market Value: $100-$200

If Pappy Van Winkle is an autographed pair of Jordan Ones, Blanton's is the latest drop from Supreme. Not necessarily rare, but there's only a few places you can get it, and if you don't buy it at the drop, you're subject to the vicious whims of an aftermarket bent on taking you for everything you're worth, just for the opportunity and privilege to enjoy, what is in my opinion, one of the finest whiskeys on the planet.

"Now Jonny", you must be saying right now, "what is it that makes this spirit so coveted and is it really worth the money people are asking for it?" My answer, in a word, is yes. But unfortunately, Blanton's is a rabbit hole in and of itself, and not the excellent Rabbit Hole whiskey mind you. No, Blanton's Bourbon is a thrice yearly release from the shimmering city on the hill, Buffalo Trace Distillery, in Frankfurt Kentucky, and like its father, Pappy Van Winkle, it is very sought after by the Bourbon drinking community. Unlike Pappy however, which can often fetch prices upwards of $1400 per bottle, Blanton's usually sits at a much more reasonable cost of, oh say, $120 per bottle. Which although completely reasonable by most normal means, flies in the face of the wholesale value of this product, which at the time of writing, sits right around $65 per bottle. It's worth mentioning that I have purchased this product for anywhere from $65 to $180 per bottle.

So why the price hike? Well, like Michael Jordan rookie cards, Blanton's are kind of rare. The liquid that occupies the octagonal walls of every bottle comes from a single barrel of whiskey, it is not cut nor blended with any other whiskey from the distillery, which means each offering will be unique in its own right. Additionally, the whiskey in question is typically aged 6-8 years, which means there's a lot of time for whiskey to evaporate (or become Angel's Share) in the barrel, thus limiting the yield of that particular barrel. Since Blanton's is never cut or blended, this raises the stakes for the final product availability and cost.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Buffalo Trace products have been the victim of a rather harsh distribution chain in recent years, preventing this spirit from occupying shelf space at your local liquor store and instead favoring the restaurant bars that can make a lot more money off of selling individual drams of the stuff, versus selling entire bottles. Now at the time of writing this, Buffalo Trace and their parent company Sazerac have ditched their old distributor and the general consensus is that this will lead to broader availability and more importantly, lower prices for this coveted spirit. Which I must attest, as someone who currently owns 4 bottles of the stuff, I can say, is very much the trend I am seeing.

"But Jonny, all of that is irrelevant, is Blanton's 'worth the money' or is it even good?" Personally, I think it is. I think the only bad thing I can say about this product is that it is artificially inflated in price, regardless of how grounded the reasons for the price hike are, if you could buy this bottle for $65 off a shelf on the regular, it would be a legendary offering without equal. Unfortunately you have to know someone or make a pact with the devil to get such a price. I'll let you decide for yourself which option I took advantage of...

All of this to say that I really do think Blanton's is a phenomenal, albeit overhyped masterpiece in whiskey making. You had to read four paragraphs to get that information, but I swear, I mean every word. I would never recommend anyone spend over $150 on a single bottle of Blanton's (or any bourbon within reason) but if you can find it for $99-$120 (or better yet, cost) it is a steal and a must have addition to any collection. It has a very balanced, smooth mouth feel, herbal at first but the more you drink it, the more your tongue learns to process the many characteristics of this fine spirit. The craziest thing about it is that it is a single barrel offering and everything it throws at you was created in one chamber with minimal to no intervention.

While Woodford Reserve is my "Desert Island Whiskey" I cannot deny the fact that Blanton's is maybe, my favorite special occasion whiskey, I jump at any opportunity I receive to enjoy a glass, which fortunately for me, is becoming more and more often as restraints on this spirit are loosened. So short story long, yes, yes Blanton's is worth it. It is a very fine bourbon that everyone should try if and when the opportunity arises. Just don't spend more than you are comfortable spending on it, because it's incredibly easy to be taken advantage of by those who wish to let the mystique of this bourbon justify an unjust price.

As an aside, I have collected all 8 collectible Blanton's stoppers and had them mounted by the folks at Buffalo Trace's gift shop, but that is a story, for another time...


THE REASON: Refined quality, Fun, price/availability can be a problem

LAST WORD: Blanton's speaks for itself. The minute you see that golden horse and jockey atop a truly one of a kind bottle on the back of the bar or on your fanatical friend's shelf, you're immediately attracted to it. Everything about this spirit was crafted to be collectible or hype inducing. All of that aside, the liquid that all of the trimmings were made to highlight is worthy of unlimited praise. Even as I write this, sipping from the bottle that I was able to find at a rural liquor shack in Upstate NY, which set me back $99, I don't feel as if I was wrong for purchasing it. It truly is a one of a kind spirit, and I highly recommend it to everyone, should their opportunity arise.

Pappy Van Winkle on the other hand...

Sincerely yours, Your Humble Barkeep, The Bourbon Bender

Written on 5/26/23

Other Fantastic Offerings from Woodford Reserve Distillery:

The Gold Edition

The OG

The Black Edition

Jonny's Score