There is something about bourbon and horses that go together. For starters, bourbon is made in Kentucky, the home of the Kentucky Derby with the crème de la crème of thoroughbred breeding stock grazing upon acres of rolling hills of bluegrass.

For bourbon connoisseurs, one brand that has risen to almost mythological status is Blanton’s. You’ll find much debate among those who love Kentucky whiskey about just how good Blanton’s is; some say it’s overrated hype, others say it’s as good as it gets.

But for horse lovers, it’s not about what is inside the unique bottle, it’s what’s on top: the horse and jockey stopper. The highly sought-after metal stoppers are found on the 375- and 750-milliliter bottles of Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon, Blanton’s Gold, and Blanton’s Straight from the Barrel.

Buffalo Trace Distillery (also a fine bourbon) and Sazerac Company own Blanton’s, and they created the horse stopper campaign in 1999. There are eight different stoppers and each has a circled letter on the lower left side that will spell B-L-A-N-T-O-N-S. (Given there are two “Ns”, the second is distinguished with an colon.) The set features the horse and jockey in different strides meant to resemble the various stages of a horse race from start to finish, with the “S” signifying the winning ride. The idea is to collect all eight.

And while the company claims that the same amount of each letter is produced every year, customers insist some letters are nearly impossible to find.

Likewise, you may find it tough getting your hands on a bottle the bourbon itself, period. It retails for $69.25 at the LCBO in Ontario, but as of this writing there were none available in the province. And when there are, they get snapped up fast. We’ve heard that when a shipment comes into the store, customers will buy 10 at a time. It’s no different south of the border where Blanton’s is also in scant supply. Is all this fuss over the horse stopper or the award-winning elixir inside?

The distillery describes the bourbon as having “a deep, satisfying nose of nutmeg and spices. Powerful dry vanilla notes in harmony with hints of honey amid strong caramel and corn. A medium finish composed of returning corn and nutmeg flavors.”

If you’re the treasure hunting type, then the pursuit of 8 horse stoppers might be the holy grail. Indeed, if you do manage to fulfil your destiny and scoop up the set, Blanton’s will mount it for you on a barrel stave for free. But if you’re too impatient for that sort of thing, you can buy the complete set from the company for $55 USD for the bronze and $75 for the gold.