One sip closer to completion

I finished off a bottle of Blanton’s the other night, which means I can now go shopping for a different letter.

In case you aren’t familiar with this stroke of marketing genius, each Blanton’s stopper is stamped with a tiny letter (see the “B” up there in the photo?) near the hoof of a racehorse. Collect all eight to spell out “B-L-A-N-T-O-N-S.” The legs of each horse are in a different position as well, which together represent the stride of a horse thundering down the stretch in the Kentucky Derby.

My collection of stoppers is pretty small. I love Blanton’s, but when you’re a bourbon blogger, there are so many brands to try that it takes a while to empty a bottle. And when I am in the market, it’s sometimes difficult to find the letters I need. I wondered if some letters are rarer than others – like in Scrabble. So I asked Amy Preske, public relations and events manager at Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, where Blanton’s is made.

“There are equal numbers of all eight stoppers,” she assured me. “They are in random order when they are put on.  A lot of people think we must be doing only ‘Os’ or whatever on certain days, but that’s not true, it’s just random.”

You can purchase individual stoppers in the Buffalo Trace gift shop for $2.75 each or buy a complete set on a barrel stave (below) for $85. But Amy says most Blanton’s fans she’s encountered consider that cheating.

That’s not to say they don’t sometimes turn to her for a little help. “One poor guy at WhiskeyFest Chicago told me he had been searching for years and couldn’t find the second ‘N,’ ” she said. “I got his address and mailed him one when I got back to the distillery!”  

(Photos courtesy of Buffalo Trace)

128 Responses to One sip closer to completion

  1. Kent says:

    I have a stopper that looks just like Blanton tops, but it has no letter on it. Any idea what it is? Thanks
    Kent

  2. thebourbonbabe says:

    It’s most likely a Blanton’s stopper made before 1999, when the collector’s edition stoppers began to be produced.

  3. Gene Stevens says:

    Had to laugh when I read this. I have 3 Ns.

    • thebourbonbabe says:

      I finally had to make a list of the letters I needed, after buying a second “T.” (I was SURE I didn’t have a T!!)

  4. Garry Steinbach says:

    I’m trying to tell the 2 dot difference in the two N’s. I guess I haven’t seen both. What 2 dots and where

  5. John says:

    Are the N stoppers the same or are there two different N stoppers?

    Thanks

    • thebourbonbabe says:

      Hi, John – there are indeed two different N stoppers. One is a plain N; the other is N’ (apostrophe). They want you to work for this. The upside is that it’s pretty fun work.

  6. Rusty says:

    I found an N with a colon (N:). Is that the second N or an anomaly?

  7. John Carcano says:

    Let the game began!!
    I’m a bourbon lover, benn known about this for a few but never jumped in to it..I’m about to start my collection.

  8. Skeeter says:

    I have recently been introduced to Blantons, (about 6 months ago) and now have three “A”‘s!,.. would be happy to trade for other letters if anyone is interested.

  9. Dave says:

    I have 2 T’s and 2 S’s. I want to trade for other letters! Any interest?

  10. Dave says:

    I have 2 T’s and 2 S’s that I would like to trade for other letters.

  11. Marc Johnson says:

    Skeeter I need an A as well. Let me know if you want to sell one of those.

  12. Uwlbum says:

    I just got an N: from a 2014 bottle. Woohoo! I’m rich!

  13. Nick says:

    There are those out there who think there is only 1 N – look for the minor distinction to tell the “N”s apart – aside from the horses casting differences — here are the 2 different versions – “N” and “N:”

  14. Mike McHugh says:

    Just got the final letter. Been searching for that L for 3 years!

  15. Frank says:

    I am checking with Blanton’s distillery but believe the second N has two dots (or colon) to the right of the letter. While an apostrophe would be the correct punctuation, not sure if it ever appeared on the N horse?! Do you have a pic Bourbon Babe?

  16. Frank says:

    Just heard back from Buffalo Trace. They indicated that there was never a (N’) with apostrophe, only the (N:) with colon. For those interested the individual letters as well as full sets of stoppers are available from the Buffalo Track gift store… http://www.blantonsbourbonshop.com/shop/bottle-stopper

  17. Joe says:

    Does anyone have any cool projects to assemble them when you get them all?

  18. Steve says:

    I have found that driving around to different stores will produce different letters. My store I frequent usually has tons of N and O but rarely a T or S. So I went to other stores and they had different letters. Scavenger hunts!

  19. Auntiewa says:

    Searching for a “T” here in CT. Have extra BLAN if anyone is interested.

  20. Dee Browning says:

    I could use the L from your BLAN…

  21. Sully says:

    I need the A and the first N to complete the set. But 6 out of 8 ain’t bad. I will continue my quest. I have 3 2’nd N’s, 2 T’s, 2L’s and 2S’s.

    • Brian Highlander says:

      I have extra first N’s but need the second.

      • Craig says:

        Brian,

        I just got back from a tour of Bourbon country. We visited the the Buffalo Trace distillery (twice, actually) and took the tour (two, actually). One stop on both tours was the Blanton’s bottle house. The cherished stoppers were plentiful but guarded. I have always found it true that you catch more flies with honey, so I was chatty and pleasant with the workers as they dutifully filled, capped, sealed, labeled, and boxed the bottles. I hung back intentionally a little from our group so that I could have some “alone time” with some of the workers.
        jokingly I asked a lady working at a computer (a QC station, I would guess) if they were going to throw away those corks I saw scattered in a bin beside her station. She said no, then looked around and said “..but I’ll give you one if you want.” Of course I took her up on her offer and she gave me a “B”, which I did not have. The next day we went back to buy some more gifts at the shop and decided to take a different tour. During this tour we went back through the Blanton’s bottling building (I was thrilled). I hung back again and stopped to speak with none other than The Man Who Puts The Corks In The Bottles. Seriously. He had a huge box sitting there he was pulling from. I asked him if the box was all one letter. He said no, they were random – perhaps each level of the box was a single letter, but the box had all the letters. I made mention that I was lacking “L”, “O”, and “S”. Guess what? He looked around a bit, fished in the box and gave me all three! Another worker heard what was going on and tried to offer one of the ones I was looking for, but My Guy had already found all three. Let me say that the employees I encountered were super nice (of course)! By the way, I don’t consider this ‘cheating’ because I used niceness and resourcefulness – not $2.75 per cork in the gift shop!

        Anyway, the real point of all this is to say that when I got home (with my newfound knowledge from my visit that there are two different ‘N’s, I discovered that both my ‘N’s were the same! I have two of the second ‘N’ – the one with the colon. If you are still looking for one and you have two of the first ‘N’, let me know and we can trade.

  22. Frank says:

    While this is a case, or a couple of bottles ;-), of it not being the destination but the journey, individual letter stoppers can be purchased directly from Blanton’s for $2.75 + S/H. I have been on my share of mission quests but this one is over for me. Cheers!

  23. Frank says:

    Rather than spending a lot of money on the stave display, I bought a 4″W x 2″H x12″ long block of green styrofoam for $3.oo and drilled 8 staggered holes along the length so that the display looks like a horse race. Used a 3/4″ Forstner bit for the holes. Foam is soft enough where holding bit by hand works fine. Corks are a bit bigger than 3/4 so they are a press fit.

  24. Phil says:

    Have all but the S. It wasn’t even available on the online store. I guess I just keep drinking and looking.

  25. Alexa Huckaby says:

    I heard that if you collect all the letters and send them in they send u a Blantons train set…. Is this true?

  26. Troy says:

    I have to trade: 2 A’s, 2 O’s and 2 of the second N’s. I need an L and a T. Please email me if interested in trading.

  27. Troy says:

    I would like to trade: 2 A’s, 2 O’s and 2 of the second N’s. I need an L and a T. Please email me if interested in trading.

  28. Dave cardo says:

    Been drinking Blantons now for 9 months.Did not realize about the stoppers till i was in Chicago for my sons wedding last weekend.Bartender gave gave me an L.NowI will collect all of them.

  29. Chris says:

    This is fun quest but I can’t bring myself to buy a stopper with no bourbon attached to it. I do have two extra b’s I would trade though for an a,o,or the first n if anyone is interested.

  30. Alex says:

    I have a “B” to trade and I am looking for an “A” and “S” and the second “N” with the apostrophe.

  31. Maria says:

    Hubs and I took a week on the Bourbon trail and could not get a bottle of Blanton’s, even at distillery. Here in Northern Va, you can sign up for the ABC stores’ low availability Bourbon lottery. Imagine our surprise when we went to the Delaware shore and Blantons was everywhere! We got six bottles and are missing the L and second N. Cheers!

    • Craig says:

      I have two of the second N but need the first. I have feelers out to several people. Let me know if you want to trade!

  32. Angels says:

    My collection is complete!!! I had two Ns and didn’t realize there were two different ones. The Blantn’s God must have found favor in me. I have them BOTH!!! Yay!!

  33. TLav says:

    Thought I had just completed my set and now I have to dig out the “N”s to confirm that I have the “N” with the apostrophe!

  34. katsu says:

    I have two Ns with colons. Would love to trade one of them for a regular N, an O or an S.
    anyone interested?

  35. Steve says:

    Hey guys I’m new to the blantons collection just started a weeks ago and already have came across some letters such as B L A S but having a hard time finding both Ns and the O if anyone has any double letters they are trying to get rid of and want to be a kind pal I’m interested or if you have any for sale or trade ??

  36. katsu says:

    Hi Steve from 2/4/17: I’ll trade my N for one of yours. If you want to do a trade write to me at katsu@pipeline.com

  37. Diane lesage says:

    I have a empty Blanton bottle , it was bottle August 1997 and no lether on stopper label still on . Is it worth anything? I’m in Michigan can’t find Blanton Bourbon anywhere any suggestions? Diane

    • thebourbonbabe says:

      Hi, Diane, I’m not sure if your bottle is worth anything; you could contact someone at Blanton’s to check. The Blanton’s website also has a “where to find it” section; for Michigan it says:

      Michigan Liquor Control
      7150 Harris Drive
      Lansing, MI 48909

      I hope this helps!
      Carla

  38. Michael S Petit says:

    I am in search of a second N and my collection will be complete

    • Craig says:

      I have two of the second “N” and am fishing on here for a trade for the first “N”. Do you have an extra first “N”?

  39. Ken P says:

    We have 2 extra S toppers and are in need of B, first N and T. If there are any trade partners out there, please email me at krppsu@aol.com. Thanks and good luck to everyone!

  40. Keely Rae Heissinger says:

    Is it true that Buffalo Trace will give you a placard display if you mail them all of the stoppers you’ve collected?

    • thebourbonbabe says:

      Hi Keely – no, that’s a rumor. They do have a couple of display options that you can buy, but no freebies.
      Carla

    • Craig says:

      I was in the distillery gift shop yesterday and asked this question. I was told that they will indeed give you a stave if you send them all 8 corks. You do have to pay the shipping. I asked if that information was on the Web site anywhere and got an uncertain response. Ultimately the answer I was given was ‘probably not’. I was told to contact Keen (Keane? Keene?) at the gift shop for information. I plan to do so as soon as I get my last letter (the first “N”).

  41. John says:

    I just need the A & B. Keep eluding me

  42. Vince says:

    I got a bottle of Blanton’s Gold Edition today… It had a ‘B’ on it… is there an entirely new set I now have to collect of the golden tops?!
    If so, it’s going to be much more difficult given that it can only be purchased overseas.

    • thebourbonbabe says:

      Hi, Vince,
      You don’t HAVE to collect anything… but yes, there is a Gold Edition sold only overseas, and I suppose that means there is a second set that could be collected.
      Carla

  43. Sean Hall says:

    I have all letters, multiples of each and will sell any if need be. Please contact me at halloway06@gmail.com if anyone needs any.

  44. Scott says:

    Was looking to make a gift for someone that collects the stoppers. Does anyone have dimensions of the stopper depth and width of the cork? Any help would be great!

    • Craig says:

      The stopper width appears to be 2.5 cm, or just a little under 1 inch. The cork extends 2.2 cm below the underside of the top portion.

  45. Joe says:

    I have 2 of the first N, 4 Os, 1 T, and 1 S to trade.
    I need a B and the 2nd N.
    Let me know if interested?

  46. Shack says:

    I have 2 S’s. 2 A’s. no N’s no L

  47. David says:

    I seek a N’ and in exchange I have extra N, S and B. Wish to swap?

  48. Brian says:

    Finally!!!!
    I just completed my collection of letters yesterday after finding the elusive 2nd “N”. It took about 3 years, but I refused to buy the stoppers online.

    Now I’ll need a barrell mount for them all.

  49. Jade says:

    Hi there! I have a friend who told me about a little “fence” that sits in front of the horses on those half circle displays, I was wondering if you have ever seen anything like this? I’ve been searching and searching for something like that and haven’t found anything at all. Not even on a Google image search let alone where to buy it. Was wondering if you had heard or seen this before?

    • thebourbonbabe says:

      Hi, Jade – I have not, but as evidenced by this comment thread, there are a LOT of people who are invested in these stoppers, and maybe some of them have. How about it, guys – has anyone else seen anything like this?

  50. Kathy Gill says:

    Hello! I have a 50ml miniature Blanton’s bottle but do not see a letter on the stopper. The jockey is leaning low and over the neck so it looks like it might be the second “N” or the “T”…do you know how I might be able to identify it? Is my bottle pre-letter? It is an estate find.
    Thanks for any help.
    Best regards,

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