The Colonel E. H Taylor Small Batch review
Company: Buffalo Trace (Sazerac Company)
Classification: Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Breakdown: - Unknown
Price: between £90-100
Colonel Edmund Haynes Taylor (or E. H. for short) was one heck of a guy. If there was to be a 'God' of bourbon then his name would most certainly be in the hat. During the 1800's he had a hand in so many bourbon related things that we could do a whole article just about him (hint hint Mr Pie - get writing). The Buffalo Trace website lists his long line of contributions as - introducing new copper fermentation tanks, innovating by using state-of-the-art grain equipment & column stills, modernised buildings, finding a more efficient sour mash technique, and inventing a first-of-its-kind steam heating system still used in warehouses today.
All of the above alone would have been quite an achievement, however, the Colonel was also instrumental in bringing about the Bottle in Bond (BIB) act of 1897. These days the BIB act is more of a marketing tool to slap on the label and entice potential buyers into picking your bourbon over that of a rival on the shelf. Not so in the days of the Colonel though, it was much more relevant back then and for certain raised the quality of the whiskey you could buy.
This is because one purpose of the BIB Act was to ensure there was a quality standard for Bourbon. Before the Act came into being most of the whiskey on the market, claiming to be 'straight bourbon', had a good chance of actually being paint stripper and tobacco spit - and that was if you were lucky. With the introduction of BIB came laws and rules by which a distillery had to comply in order to carry the BIB stamp on their label, and thus let the consumer know they were buying real bourbon. One of those rules (and probably the only one that still matters today) is that the bourbon had to be bottled at 50% - the Gents will always be a fan of the Colonel for this reason alone.
For this review we drank it neat in a Glencairn glass.
What we got – Toffee Apple, baked apple (Mr Pie), cherry (Mav), Summer fruit pie, cinnamon, caramel, a very warming nose, hints of spice
What they say we should get - Caramel apples, fresh corn and cloves. Butterscotch sneaks in after a while
What we got – Warmth on the tongue especially on that first sip, lots of oak, chocolate, vanilla, butterscotch, a great balanced flavour, leads to some spice on the back end that compliments the overall balance
What they say we should get - More corn sweetness, mixed with slight spiciness of rye and cinnamon
What we got – Long with lots of oak and spice
What they say we should get - Medium and very rich with creamy vanilla
It's genuinely hard to believe that the Small Batch is the entry level E. H. Taylor offering. The quality of this bourbon is just astounding. From the moment you smell it to the final moments of the surprisingly long finish, it's a pure joy. In fact, although they scored the same, it could be argued that the Gents actually would choose this over the single barrel version. That's how good it is.
There is a lot of complexity in this drink and also a welcome balance between the sweet and the spice. Both of us pulled out huge amounts of apple on the nose, a lovely baked (or hot apple pie) smell that hints at the warmth to follow on the palate - and man is it warm. The first sip coats the tongue with a layer of warm chocolate and vanilla, before leading to a spicy kick at the back end. The spice stays around for the finish, which also reveals a lot of oak that backs up the rumoured age of 6-8 years.
Now the Gents famously do not take price into account when deciding their scores, after all we are reviewing the thing that goes in your mouth and not the the stuff that comes out of your wallet. All we can say re price on this particular bottle is that, if you live in the states, stop moaning that this stuff costs $40-50, because at that price we would be buying this in bulk.
Overall this is a 100% recommend from the Gents. Buy it. Now. Stop reading this and go find a bottle. Seriously what are you waiting for? Go!
9 out of 10 - Mav
9 out of 10 – Mr. Pie
*Originally this review was uploaded with incorrect scores of '8 out of 10' showing instead of 9.