I haven't tasted any of the E. H. Taylor bourbons, but this one sounds especially good. I'm going to have to see if I can find a bottle.
Buffalo Trace Distillery pays homage to former Distillery owner E. H. Taylor, Jr. with a small batch, Bottled-In-Bond, 100 proof bourbon whiskey aged in Taylor’s warehouse.
Taylor built his iconic brick warehouse for barrel aging in 1881 and the Warehouse is still in use today. After seven years on the sixth floor, his namesake bourbon whiskey tastes of caramel corn sweetness, mingled with butterscotch and licorice. The aftertaste is a soft mouth-feel that turns into subtle spices of pepper and tobacco.
The Small Batch Bourbon is the sixth and latest release in the line of the E. H. Taylor, Jr. collection of whiskeys, rounding out the collection of Old Fashioned Sour Mash Bourbon, Single Barrel Bourbon, Warehouse C Tornado Surviving Bourbon, Barrel Proof Bourbon and Straight Rye Whiskey. The Taylor collection was first released in early 2011. Like the previous five releases, this whiskey will have very limited availability and will be packaged in a vintage label and canister reminiscent of Taylor’s bottles over one hundred years ago.
“We’ve had a tremendous response to our E. H. Taylor, Jr. whiskeys,” said Kris Comstock, Bourbon marketing director. “We’re honored to pay tribute to a pioneer and legend like Taylor.”
Edmund Haynes Taylor is widely considered one of the founding fathers of the bourbon industry, fighting for the Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897, nearly three decades after he purchased the distillery that is known today as the Buffalo Trace Distillery. During his time, Taylor implemented several innovative methods still used today by Buffalo Trace, such as climate controlled aging warehouses. In addition to his bourbon interests, Taylor had political ties. He was the great-nephew of President Zachary Taylor and elected the mayor of Frankfort, state representative to the Kentucky General Assembly and a member of the State Senate.
The inaugural bottling of Colonel E.H. Taylor, Jr. Small Batch Bourbon Whiskey will be available in November. The suggested retail price is $39.99 per 750ml bottle.
We conducted the second round of our bourbon taste test last weekend. The whiskeys this time all had a suggested retail price of between $25 and $50. (Our first Bourbon Taste Test featured bourbons under $25.) As was the case last time, some of the samples were provided by the distilleries and some were from my own cabinet.
The whiskeys were all tasted blind, so the participants didn't know which bourbon they were drinking. (I poured the glasses, so I had a vague idea of which order a couple of them were in, but I was very close to unaware.)
We tasted eight whiskeys, all Kentucky straight bourbons, ranging in proof from 80 to 120. The prices ranged from $29 to $40. The whiskeys were all drunk neat. With the exception of one, all of them were better than average, and the overall quality was higher than in the first tasting.
You can see the line-up in the photo below.
The bourbons were split into two groups of four, with a short break in between the two groups. Each whiskey was tasted in a 1/2 ounce serving, and then notes were made. We discussed each of the bourbons as we drank, and then discussed them all together once we were finished.
Here they are in the order tasted, with the grades we gave them and selected notes. The grades are based on quality alone, without regard to price.
Basil Hayden's 8 Year-Old Price: $37 80 Proof Final Grade: B- The "sweet smell of vanilla" and toffee isn't matched by the flavor, which is "oaky" and rather plain. Starts off "sharp," but "fades quickly." It has some complexity and some spicy notes, but more would have been welcome. A decent bourbon, but nobody's favorite.
Jefferson's 8 Year-Old Very Small Batch Price: $30 83 Proof Final Grade: B- A faint "slightly fruity" aroma leads to a smooth taste that "uncurls in your mouth." The flavor ends up woody and oily, more reminiscent of Scotch than bourbon. Better than average, but a little too one-note.
Four Roses Small Batch Price: $29 90 Proof Final Grade: C A strong, "antiseptic" smell is followed by a dry, "bitter" flavor. More wood taste than anyone on the panel cared for. Complex and "assertive," but too rancio-like for our tastes. [This was a disappointment, as I've drunk this bourbon in cocktails before and enjoyed it. I suppose it's possible we got a bad bottle this time.]
Eagle Rare 10-Year Old Single Barrel Price: $30 90 Proof Final Grade: A- Now we're talking! A delicious aroma of toffee leads to a sweet and spicy flavor. It's "nutty" and "warm" with a sensuous finish. A near-perfect balance of sweet and spice. This was the stand-out of the first round of four. A delicious bourbon. I could drink this every day.
Elijah Craig 18-Year Old Single Barrel Price: $36 90 Proof Final Grade: A Wow! Eighteen years in the barrel have worked magic on this whiskey. It begins with a fruity, spicy smell and then gets even better on the tongue. The flavor is a mix of sweet caramel and vanilla, with enough oak — but not too much — to give it complexity. It closes with a finish that is warm and succulent. This bourbon is so good it's practically decadent.
Woodford Reserve Distiller's Select Price: $33 90.4 Proof Final Grade: B+ Opens up to a gorgeous, sweet, "fruity" aroma — this is a wonderful smelling bourbon. The taste is "oaky" and "nutty," well rounded and dry rather than sweet. It starts off smooth, but then kicks in with a long, spicy finish. A very interesting bourbon. Definitely worth exploring further.
Baker's 7 Year-Old Price: $37 107 Proof Final Grade: B+ "Earthy" and "nutty" (peanut brittle and toffee?) on the nose. The taste is likewise nutty and spicy, with enough heat to make you wake up and pay attention. There's some vanilla sweetness in there, but mostly dry overall. A complex, distinctive bourbon that demands to be sampled again.
Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve Price: $40 120 Proof Final Grade: B Whoa! This is powerful stuff. A sweet, "candied" smell paves the way for a sweet and "bold" taste. (Did I mention this is strong?) It "dances around your mouth" with flavors of grain and fruit, and has a robust, spicy finish. [Editor's note: If I were to taste this again, I would dilute it so that more of the flavor would be revealed. I think it would score higher than.]
The Four Roses Small Batch didn't find favor with the panel, but all of the rest of the bourbons were greeted with open arms. The two that ranked the highest — Elijah Craig 18 Year-Old and Eagle Rare 10 Year-Old — were superb. But the bourbons that scored just under those were likewise outstanding.
This collection of whiskeys shows more than anything else how skilled and sophisticated the experts at the country's major bourbon distilleries are. Their mastery of crafting fine spirits is nothing short of outstanding. Bravo!
The latest news from Buffalo Trace Distillery, easily one of the most forward-thinking distilleries in the world. They're trying more interesting (and delicious) things with whiskey than anyone else I can think of. If you see a bottle of this, definitely pick it up.
The latest in the Colonel E. H. Taylor, Jr. Bourbon Collection from Buffalo Trace Distillery is an extraordinary barrel proof, uncut, unfiltered rye recipe bourbon.
Weighing in at a hefty 134.5 proof, this small batch bourbon was aged for seven years on the sixth floor of Buffalo Trace’s Warehouse C, built by Colonel Taylor in 1881.
When your experience this uncut and unfiltered Bourbon, “an aroma of cooked, berries meets the nose, followed by a rich caramel and slightly floral smell. The taste is bold – full of spice that fills the mouth with a distinct flavor of toasty vanilla, dried oak and pepper. The finish is long and satisfying with a powerful rye character and lingering hints of fruit."
The Barrel Proof Bourbon is the fourth in the line of the E. H. Taylor, Jr. collection of whiskeys to be released over the next few years. It joins the Old Fashioned Sour Mash Bourbon, Single Barrel Bourbon and Warehouse C Tornado Surviving Bourbon released within the past year. Like the previous three releases, this Barrel Proof Bourbon will have very limited availability and will be packaged in a vintage label and canister reminiscent of Taylor’s bottles nearly one hundred years ago
Taylor is widely considered one of the founding fathers of the bourbon industry, fighting for the Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897, nearly three decades after he purchased the distillery that is known today as the Buffalo Trace Distillery. During his time, Taylor implemented several innovative methods still used today by Buffalo Trace, such as climate controlled aging warehouses. In addition to his bourbon interests, Taylor had political ties. He was the great-nephew of President Zachary Taylor and elected the mayor of Frankfort, state representative to the Kentucky General Assembly and a member of the State Senate.
The Col. E.H. Taylor, Jr. Barrel Proof Bourbon will be available in June. Suggested retail pricing is $69.99 for a 750 ml bottle.