Benjamin Blanton, who'd made a fortune in the Gold Rush, returned to Kentucky and started a distillery at Leestown in 1865. In the 1870s, it was bought by Col. Edmund Taylor, who had built the Old Crow distillery (named after the Scottish doctor James Crow, who brought up-to-date whiskey-making methods to Kentucky in the 1820s), but then Taylor sold it to George T. Stagg. The distillery made Old Taylor--despite a long litigation between Stagg and Taylor--as well as Stagg's own brand, Ancient Age. For a while, the Tennessee whiskey George Dickel was also made here.
The Old Taylor brand has ended up in the Jim Beam stable, along with Old Crow. As for the distillery Benjamin Blanton founded in 1865, it continued to be directed by a Blanton until 1952, a typical Bourbon industry story. Meanwhile, the distillery had been bought by Schenley, which renamed it the Schenley Distillery.
In 1969 it became the Ancient Age Distillery. In 1992, the Japanese firm Takara Shuzo & Okura acquired it, renamed it the Leestown Distillery and has distributed its brands in Japan since then. Under a confusing arrangement, the distillery plant, but not the brand names, has been sold to the Sazerac Co. of New Orleans. So now, in addition to Ancient Age and various single-barrel whiskeys, Leestown produces Eagle Rare, a premium brand formerly made for Sazerac by Seagram's.