Blanton’s. Is that enough to have you opening your wallet and throwing money at your screen? No? Blanton’s….Gold. Okay, I can pretty much hear the cash throwing from here.
I feel like Blanton’s is one of those brands that is synonymous with hype and marketing. From the uniquely shaped bottle, to the ingenious collectible horse topper, to the hand written labeling and the drawstring bag, this thing just screams marketing. The Gold edition takes that a step further by being an international only release as well as painting that cool little horse gold. Hold onto your reins, because here we go.
Let me preface this review by saying that I personally think Blanton’s is good at MSRP, but beyond that, it’s all hype and marketing. Stores around me are selling normal Blanton’s (if they ever even get it) for $90-100, sometimes even requiring you to purchase another product just to have the opportunity to get raked over the coals. I know many people think it’s God’s gift to mankind, but to me, it’s just alright. I keep a bottle on hand if I can find it for retail because that’s usually the first question out of new whiskey friends’ mouths: “Do you have Blanton’s?”.
With that out of the way, let’s look at our international friend, Blanton’s Gold. I was able to get this back in 2017 from Master of Malt before Anheuser Busch purchased the site and ceased all shipments to the US. As a result, I was able to get this sucker for $80 or so where the current secondary valuation is sitting around $165 give or take. At the time, I was a complete whiskey newb and thought that it was the “Pappy Van Winkle of Blanton’s”, but it turns out that it’s just a slightly higher proof of the same Buffalo Trace Mash Bill #2. So what do these extra 10 points of proof bring to the table? Quite a bit actually. The nose has a more alcoholic note to it which is to be expected, but it brings along a hint of spicy rye and the faint scent of tobacco and vanilla. The palate is sweet with honey and raisins, then there’s oak at the end along with the peppery notes you get from the higher proof and Mash Bill #2’s higher rye content. The finish is long and peppery, with vanilla being the prevalent taste.
Being someone that appreciates higher proof whiskey, I can confidently say that I enjoy this more than the standard Blanton’s Single Barrel release. I would love to compare this with Blanton’s Straight from the Barrel, another international release, which is just a full proof Blanton’s Single Barrel that doesn’t get proofed down to 46.5% ABV. Would I buy this again? At $80, absolutely, beyond that probably not. Considering that there are very few places to obtain it from without succumbing to secondary market values, I don’t think I’ll be replacing this bottle anytime soon.
Maybe at some point Buffalo Trace will decide to bring some of its international product lines to the States since we’re dead in the middle of a bourbon boom, but we’ll just have to wait and see. In the meantime, if you can find someone with a bottle that will share, have yourself a pour, or maybe trade for a sample, but I wouldn’t suggest paying secondary for it unless you’re a Blanton’s collector. For those that may be interested, my bottle was dumped on 9-18-17, Barrel 1595, Warehouse H, Rick Number 49.