E. H. Taylor Barrel Proof
Colonel E. H. Taylor Barrel Proof
Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Uncut and Unfiltered at 129 Proof
Unless I get my hands on the new and extremely limited E. H. Taylor Cured Oak (which I have a line on, so wish me luck!), this may be the last we hear about the Colonel for a while. I kinda saved the best for last in this case. The Barrel Proof expression is a special, totally killer whiskey.
What else to know about Edmund Haynes Taylor? Have we beat the subject to death? Not quite. Cool facts–he was related to not one but TWO U.S. Presidents…he was the grand nephew of Zachary Taylor and somehow related to James Madison too. He was mayor of Frankfurt, KY for 16 years! Of course we know him as the Father of the Modern Bourbon Industry (did Chuck Cowdery coin that? Not sure…but if you aren’t reading Chuck Cowdery’s blog, immediately forget about my website and go to his–he’s the absolute authority on all this stuff, and probably the greatest person alive) due to his involvement in the Bottled-in-Bond Act and government regulation (in a good way) of whiskey production, but he also was an innovator in the idea of what a distillery could be. He was the first (that we know of) to really care about the grounds of the distillery. He wanted green spaces manicured for picnics, he built castle-like structures instead of boring, merely-functional buildings, and he even gave away “10th pints” of Old Taylor Bourbon to distillery visitors. He was the first to focus on what we would now call “PR.” If he were alive today he would definitely have a Twitter account.
So @therealcoloneltaylor, we thank you for all your contributions to the industry, and for enriching our lives so much with your legacy. Oh, another fun fact–the Colonel lived to be 93 years old, same age as Elmer T. Lee. We got Jimmy Russell over 80 and still working. So, we can basically conclude that drinking a healthy amount of whiskey makes you live a long life!
Let’s focus on this particular expression for a minute. The bottle I’ve got is 129 Proof, which is the third release of this whiskey (the other two were substantially higher at 134.5 and 135.4). But 129 is plenty high, trust me. The nose is fruit forward, though much darker fruit than typical Buffalo Trace…stewed prunes come to mind. There’s great charred oak, cherry runts, and a funkiness like a dusty barn or an animal cage. A bit zoo-y, it’s an animal for sure, love it. At this proof your palate can be blown away without a little water added, though sometimes I’m able to pick out a lot without diluting at all. Not the case with this one, I highly recommend adding some bottled or filtered water a couple drops at a time until it opens up. My first impression on drinking this is “damn good.” The dark fruits are there, but a little fresher than the nose, more like plums than prunes. More charred oak for sure, burnt sugar, a little nuttiness of raw almonds with the skins on. Funky and fresh, and funky-fresh.
Now I haven’t tasted the other two releases of this, but I have tasted most of what Buffalo Trace offers, and this is right up there (ok, almost) with the heaviest of hitters, George T. Stagg (review of the 2014 Stagg to come, one day). Price-wise the E.H Taylor is around the same price as Stagg (though very often closer to the $100 mark so actually more expensive) but the best thing about this bottle is that you can still walk in a store and find it on a shelf, which you will never, ever do with George T. Stagg. They are both BT’s Mash Bill #1 (low rye) and Barrel Proof, so we are dealing with similar beasts. If you are lucky enough to see this on a shelf, by all means buy it and enjoy it.
Rating: 9.2 / 10
Bought in East Tennessee for $90.