Blanton was born in 1881 in the backwoods of Kentucky, the son of two people who did something or another. The details are not exactly clear. What we do know is that his parents loved pork. For a while, they thought about naming him porkchop, but as time passed, that fell out of favor and they instead opted for Albert Bacon.
Albert Bacon Blanton, or BB as he was known to his friends, needed some money around the time he turned 16, so he got a job working at a bourbon distillery (now known as Buffalo Trace). Thus began his illustrious career that spanned more than 50 years. Two major highlights jump out from all that he accomplished.
- Blanton got his distillery an exemption from prohibition (take that Women’s Christian Temperance Union!) which enabled him to be the only legal distiller in Kentucky. Ostensibly, this was bourbon for “medical purposes” but we all know what that means. As soon as prohibition lifted, Blanton was in a great postion to capture an enormous share of the market.
- For all practical purposes, Blanton popularized the concept of single barrel bourbons. He was well known for picking out the best barrel and bottling it for himself and select friends. Hence, when Buffalo Trace was getting reading to bring the first single barrel bourbon to the market in 1984, they named it after him.
So what about that whole Colonel thing? Blanton never served in the military. Instead, the title comes from the Kentucky Colonels (kycolonels.org). Anyway, that’s the true story of Colonel Albert Bacon Blanton, who was a pretty interesting guy.