The original and the best.


Elmer T. Lee, creator of Blanton’s Bourbon, has died.

Declining demand for bourbon, which began in the early ’70s and continued into the ’90s, was attributed to various causes, including recreational drug use, the mass marketing of beer, and the rising popularity of gin and vodka among cocktail drinkers.

With the work force at Buffalo Trace shrinking steadily — from 250 when he started in 1949, it would reach a low of 50 in the early 1990s — Mr. Lee and his staff selected their best bourbon whiskey, put it in decanters with attention-getting horse-and-jockey bottle stoppers, and shipped it for retailing at about $30 a bottle, compared with an average price of $10 to $15 for a regular bottle.

The audience gathered slowly. But once it arrived, said Eric Gregory, president of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association, the premium audience was devoted. “We had to have cases and cases of it every Friday, or else,” said Mr. Gregory, who as a University of Kentucky student worked part time in a liquor store in the mid-’80s.


  1. Will someone post something about Bob Dylan so I can brag about something Dylan-related? Just wondering. Consider this a post request, submitted.

  2. My father’s first sip of Blantons (I had a bottle given as a gift) became a revelation to him – (he has returned to whisky late in his life, before this, mostly Seagrams and blended scotches). His comeback began with Tullamore and eventually drifted to bourbon – as one sympathetic to Irish draft dodgers during the Civil War (vide: draft riots, NYC, et al) would naturally be drawn southward…


  3. A very sad day for America. Thanks.

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