How Blanton's Came to Be
Single Barrel Bourbon started with Blanton’s in 1984. Nearing retirement, Master Distiller Elmer T. Lee was tasked with creating a bourbon of exceptionally high quality. With careful reflection, he recalled the earlier days of his career in the late 1940s when he worked under Colonel Albert B. Blanton. Colonel Blanton was the president of the distillery until 1952. Mr. Lee remembered that when Colonel Blanton would entertain dignitaries and other important guests he would handpick “honey barrels” from the center cut of Warehouse H and have that bourbon bottled one barrel at a time. As a tribute to Colonel Blanton’s old tradition, Elmer T. Lee decided to name this new bourbon “Blanton’s Single Barrel”.
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.
After the repeal of prohibition in 1933, the remaining distilleries in Kentucky were anticipating high demand for their spirits. Production went into overdrive and Colonel Blanton’s distillery faced a shortage of space to store barrels. Colonel Blanton’s solution was to order the construction of a metal warehouse because of the relatively short time it would take to erect. Colonel Blanton later discovered that the metal walls caused the bourbon inside to age differently. The temperature change inside this metal warehouse happens more quickly, causing the bourbon to interact with the oak at a steadier rate. Because the metal walls are thinner the temperature inside the warehouse is closer to what the actual temperature is outside the warehouse. This has the effect of really capturing Kentucky’s temperamental weather and takes advantage of the climate of Kentucky having four seasons proper. In time, Colonel Blanton favored the unique aging qualities this metal warehouse had on the barrels inside. This warehouse became the home of Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon in 1984. Still to this day, Warehouse H contains aging barrels of our wonderful Single Barrel Bourbon.