The Colonel E. H. Taylor Single Barrel review
Company: Buffalo Trace
Classification: Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Breakdown: Unknown, apart from the Buffalo Trace mash bill #1 which contains less than 10% rye
Price: c. £95
Named after one of the founding fathers of the industry, Colonel Edmund Haynes Taylor Jr, this single barrel offering is handpicked from Buffalo Trace’s Warehouse C, and bottled in bond to honour the great man. His first foray into the world of whiskey was as a banker assisting in the financial aspects of starting up and running distilleries. Around the 1870’s he took the plunge into owning a distillery and was the first to introduce copper fermenting equipment, and a steam heating system still used today in modern warehousing.
He is perhaps more famously known as being one of the more active pursuers of pushing for the Bottled-In-Bond Act of 1897. This act would guarantee that American made whiskey would be at least 4 years old, aged in a bonded warehouse under US Government supervision, be the product of one distillation season from one distillery and bottled at a minimum proof of 100% (50% ABV). Some will argue that this is now an outdated stamp of approval as one of it's main aims was to create a standard of quality for all to follow, and not allow whiskey to be sold containing paint thinner and tobacco spit!
Buffalo Trace produce an entire collection of Colonel E. H. Taylor Jr whiskey, including Small Batch Barrel Proof, Rye, Old Fashioned Sour Mash and the recent headline making addition (it is one man’s opinion, ok, let’s leave it there) Four Grain.
For this review we drank it neat in a Glencairn glass. It was poured and left standing for 15 minutes
What we got – Sweetness of caramel and rather interesting different concoctions for the Gents of pear and banana for Mr Pie, whereas Mav picked out cherries and marzipan
What they say we should get - Some pretty spicy notes, rich with oak. It's cooled down with fruity figs and plums
What we got – Oak, in fact a lot of oak, smoke (Mav). Spicy, but it is a great balance of spice mixed with sweet caramel
What they say we should get - Sweet and buttery, with a surprising hint of orange peel. Some tobacco smokiness follows
What we got – Looooooooooong. Did we say it was long? With a final flourish of burnt orange peel
What they say we should get - Very long indeed, the tobacco notes in full effect
This bourbon was reviewed during our preparations for upcoming Bourbon Gents projects (yes, we really do have these meetings) and we had poured this out in preparation for a review. Leaving a whiskey in the glass for 15 minutes is not something we do very often but we do believe that allowing it to open up into the air for this length of time actually makes a difference.
We make a conscious effort to not allow the price of a bourbon to influence our reviews (this can admittedly be difficult at times), but we both expected an awful lot from this bottle and we were certainly not disappointed. Whatever nosing descriptors are used, you will find this drink full of fruit and caramel aromas. Wonderful silkiness of flavour on the palate, and also complemented by a superb balance of spice and sweet caramel with a hint of smoke. The Gents didn’t pick out burnt orange on the palate as described by the experts but experienced it more at the end of the hugely enjoyable and lengthy finish.
The Gents are now beginning to think about Christmas. Tell everyone to forget about buying you socks, gloves and slippers, put all their money together and buy you a bottle of this. You will not be disappointed. You have our word on it.
8 out of 10 - Mav
8 out of 10 – Mr. Pie