What To Know About Blanton's Bourbon, Featured In The John Wick Movies

Film characters and their signature drinks are nothing new, from James Bond and his vodka martinis to the Manhattan cocktail in "Some Like it Hot" and the orange whips of "The Blues Brothers." Sometimes, a spirit comes along that stands alone in a film series based on the brand rather than how it's consumed. That's the case with the "John Wick" movie franchise and Blanton's bourbon from Kentucky. The titular character's drink of choice is bourbon, and the Blanton's brand can be spotted in more than one film in the series.

Based on the cult-like fan following of the "John Wick" films, it's likely that quite a few devotees took the plunge and forked over the relatively big bucks to try Blanton's themselves. Here's a look at the real-life bourbon, starting with its ties to the renowned Buffalo Trace Distillery. The name Blanton comes from one of the early Buffalo Trace pioneers, Colonel Albert Bacon Blanton. He started in 1897 as an office boy at age 16 before working his way up to company president and eventually retiring after decades in that role. It was his tinkering around in the now-famous Warehouse H of Buffalo Trace, creating his own private reserve bourbon, that eventually led to the version that posthumously bears his name.

Blanton's bourbon: the process, the taste, and the packaging

Though Colonel Blanton lived his working life at Buffalo Trace distillery, the namesake Blanton's bourbon is not actually owned by the company. The liquor came about many years after his death and was created by one of his protégées, Master Distiller Elmer T. Lee, who recalled Colonel Blanton's private bourbons made in hand-chosen "honey barrels." Lee resurrected the tradition, creating what's now considered the first commercially available single-barrel bourbon.

The ties to bourbon royalty, as well as its original single-barrel distinction, keep Blanton's in the high-end realm — but it still takes a lot to survive today's prolific bourbon output in the state of Kentucky. It probably helps to have a hard-hitting star like Keanu Reeves sipping Blanton's bourbon on screen after eradicating the world's bad guys. But, in the end (especially with the price tag it carries), the bourbon still has to taste good and carry distinctive, defining characteristics.

Bourbon is a personal thing, based on individual palates and predilections, but Blanton's is generally described as a smooth, balanced combination of spicy and sweet flavors. Notes of vanilla, caramel, honey, and corn blend with earthy nuances of cinnamon and nutmeg, tinged by characteristic bourbon smokiness. The bottles in and of themselves are collectible, particularly defined by eight different metal stoppers featuring a horse and jockey, each bearing a letter that collectively spells the name Blanton's.