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What I consider the "full collection" of Blanton's

In my attempt to catalog and collect the many expressions of Blanton's that have been bottled over the years I've struggled with what I consider a full collection. In other words, what does "done" look like and a collection can be considered complete?

First let me say there is no correct answer. Everyone has an opinion, and I'll share mine.

I define a full collection based on unique, distillery printed labels that clearly differ from other labels and expressions. In other words, store picks/private picks are immediately out. While those bottles are no doubt tasty, the are nothing more than regular single barrel bottles that have been hand-picked for their deliciousness. The only unique thing about their label is an "aftermarket" sticker indicating the store pick. Are they worth paying more to acquire? Yes probably. But there are obviously too many to collect and in the end, the label is the same as any other regular single barrel 93 proof Blanton's.

Furthering this thought, I discount the Medicinal Whisky bottle. It's sought after by many collectors but it is a private pick. It is very rare, and does have a super cool label. It's a great group of people who put this together and I know several of them. They also donate a lot to charity as well which is awesome. All that said, it's not an official Buffalo Trace installed label and just a fancy version of what would otherwise be a small round sticker.

For me the line gets a little more blurry after this. In the late 80's to early 90's Buffalo Trace bottled several store picks that included a BT installed neck label instead of the stickers found on picks today. Most common are bottles that say "Liquor Barn" which is a chain of liquor store in Kentucky. Based on my definition, they would technically be considered part of the full lineup, however, I put them at the bottom of the list of bottles I'm trying to acquire personally. It's still fundamentally a store pick with a slightly better label than normal. There are also an unknown number of releases/years so trying to collect them all would be nearly impossible.

Beyond this, I also would argue the Alabama Bicentennial bottle is not really all that special. It's a store pick that was done for ABC liquor stores. The bottle itself is a standard label with a normal circle-type store pick sticker stuck on. What makes this bottle different is that it does have a unique box that was designed and printed by BT for the pick. That certainly makes it more collectable, especially if you value boxes which many collectors do. It's on my list of bottles I want, but only slightly above the Liquor Barn neck labels, and Medicinal bottles for this reason.

Finally, there is an early 90's bottle known as the "Pocket Watch" edition. This had a unique holographic hang-tag. The hang-tag is really cool, and was produced by BT, but the problem is if you lose the tag, you don't know the bottle was anything special. To me the tag itself is what is collectable as they probably just stuck them on a bunch of regular bottles at the time.

So there you have it. Several of my collector friends would probably argue with me on some of this but for me it's pretty simple if you define uniqueness as being something BT officially produced and stuck on the bottle. If I owned every bottle listed on this site, minus the ones referenced above, I'd feel pretty darn good and consider my collection complete in my eyes. Regardless of what your opinion may be, there's no doubt the juice inside is what really matters. Cheers!


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