Blanton’s Golden Promise Bbl #4

BLANTON'S GOLDEN PROMISE BBL #4

SPIRIT: Bourbon

VOLUME: 750 ml

ABV/PROOF: 51/103

AGE: N/A

As the story goes, Blanton’s was something of a hail Mary pass. It was the early 1980s, and the reputation of American whiskey, and the demand for it, was on a decades-long decline. Its defenders believed that it was just as good as fine cognac or single-malt Scotch, but the category needed a boost. 

That’s when the owners of what is now the Buffalo Trace Distillery challenged its manager, Elmer T. Lee, to develop a whiskey that could stand up to the most refined spirits from Europe. Lee had been hired after World War II by Albert Blanton, and he remembered how his boss would single out, and set aside, certain barrels that he believed were of exceptional quality, then have them bottled for friends. Lee decided to do the same, but for everyday customers – creating, in essence, the first single-barrel bourbon. He called it Blanton’s, in his mentor’s honor.

It was not an immediate hit. Despite the luxury packaging, whiskey drinkers of the mid-1980s could not bring themselves to pay $35 for a bottle of bourbon, regardless of how good the story was. But Lee was insistent, and persistent. He continued to produce it, and to evangelize for it. And, in time, it began to take off. Yet even by the mid-2010s it was selling for about $65, more or less flat, after inflation, since its debut.

Then something changed. People who had begun drinking Buffalo Trace whiskey because of its reputation as the home of Pappy Van Winkle started to try other whiskeys from the distillery. One after the other, once-ignored bottles became instant best-sellers: E.H. Taylor, Weller, Rock Hill Farms, and then Blanton’s. Prices in many places quadrupled almost overnight.

Blanton’s had always been available in a single expression in the United States, at 93 proof, but abroad it was available in a number of different versions, including a 103-proof Gold Edition. That edition is already very rare, but even rarer is whiskey from a single barrel of Blanton’s purchased in 2018 by La Maison du Whisky, a renowned Paris retailer, for its bar, Golden Promise, adjacent to the store in the Second Arrondissement. Only 225 bottles were produced for the store’s whiskey festival. Like all Blanton’s Gold releases, this one is bottled at 103 proof, ten proof points higher than the standard Blanton’s..

Release: Blanton’s “Golden Promise” Single Barrel Bourbon

Spirit: Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Producer: Buffalo Trace

Misc.: La Maison du Whisky loves Blanton’s – it usually buys one or more barrels for its annual festival.

Collectors’ tips: The bottle comes with a unique golden wax seal on its side.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *