Saturday, July 28, 2018

Blanton's Label History

Blanton's, named for Col. Albert Bacon Blanton, was launched in 1984 as an export only single-barrel bourbon. Even in Japan, bottles from 1984-1987 are very rare. Bottles from 88 and 89 are more attainable and bottles from the 1990s are somewhat common.

Normally, dating a bottle of Blanton's is easy. Simply look for the "dump date" that is hand written on each bottle. Sometimes, however, the label is missing a dump date or, the case of an auction, the available pictures of the bottle do not show the date. In order to allow approximate dating in these types of cases, I've tracked down the year when certain aspects of the bottle changed. The following information applies to Blanton's Original Single Barrel. It may apply to other bottlings, but I haven't verified that it does.

Hang Tag

Hang Tag (1984-1990)
The first key change pertains to the hang tag. From 1984 until 1990, the phrase "Why this may be the finest bottle of whiskey ever produced." (see rights) was printed on the front of the hang tag in a scripted font. No other text or pictures appear on the front of hang tags from this era.

In 1990, the hang tag was changed. From this point forward, the phrase "The Finest Bourbon in the World Comes from a Single Barrel" was printed in all caps on the top half of the front of the hang tag. A picture of a horse and rider was printed below. This type of hang tag continues to this day.

Neck Label

The second key change pertains to the neck label. From 1984 until 1993, the phrase "Blanton Distilling Company" was printed in a scripted font on the neck label (see below). All of the words were printed at the same size.

In late 1993, the neck label was changed. From this point forward, the phrase "Blanton's Single Barrel Bourbon ウイスキー" was printed on the neck label in Japan and the phrase "Blanton's the Original Single Barrel Bourbon" was printed on the neck label elsewhere. This type of neck label continues to this day.

Neck Label (1984-1993)


Horse Stopper

The final key change pertains to the bottle stopper. From 1984 until 1998, the stopper depicted a running horse (see below). The casting of the horse is generally rougher in bottles from the 1980s and early 1990s. For example, sometimes there is some metal left between the body of the horse and the horses legs.

Sometime in 1999, the horse stopper was changed. From this point forward, one of the letters in the word "Blanton's" was added near the legs of the horse. If the stoppers are arranged to spell "Blanton's" the various stages of the race with align as well. Because there are two "n"s in "Blanton's," the second "n" is marked with two dots to the right of the letter.

Horse Stopper (1984-1999)


The key dates for Blanton's Original Single Barrel are summarized in the table below.

YearItemDescription of Change
1990Hang TagHang tag changes from "Why this may be the finest bottle of whiskey every produced." to "The Finest Bourbon in the World Comes from a Single Barrel."
1993Neck LabelThe neck label changed from "Blanton Distilling Co." to "Blanton's Single Barrel Bourbon ウイスキー" in Japan and "Blanton's the Original Single Barrel Bourbon" elsewhere.
1999StopperA letter is added to the horse stopper near the feet of the horse.

Price at Auction

Bottles of Blanton's from the 1990s or 2000s generally go for about the same price as a current bottle of Blanton's. Bottles of Blanton's from 1988 or 1989 generally go for about twice the price of a current bottle of Blanton's. Blanton's from 1984-1987 generally goes for three times the price of a current bottle of Blanton's.

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