E.H. Taylor Single Barrel

Colonel E. H. Taylor Single Barrel

Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Bottled-in-Bond (100 Proof)

No Barrel Number or Age Statement listed

Back when I was just getting this site started, I reviewed the Small Batch expression of the E. H. Taylor line as one of my first reviews.  At the time, it was the “nicest” bottle of bourbon I had ever purchased.  Crazy how fast things change.  I had no idea what I was doing, but I did give it a good review, and having revisited that bottle the other night I can say I still very much agree that it is an excellent bourbon, and at this point I pretty much know what I’m doing.  For some time, I have been anxious to try some of the other E. H. Taylor offerings, and lucky for me (and for you!) I’ve managed to procure the Single Barrel, the Barrel Proof, and the Rye, still no luck on the Sour Mash or the Warehouse C bottles, but I’m on the hunt.  So look forward to a lot of E. H. Taylor talk in the next weeks.

So yes, Colonel E. H. Taylor.  Founder of the Old Fire Copper Distillery, later sold to George T. Stagg (you’ve probably heard of him), now home of Buffalo Trace.  What is cool about “the Colonel” (his friends, including myself, refer to him as such) is that he was one of the guys that pushed for and eventually succeeded in passing the Bottled-In-Bond Act of 1897.  At the time there was quite a lot of whiskey being sold as “straight whiskey”–the legal definition of straight whiskey being:  “whiskey created by distilling a fermented (malted or unmalted) cereal grain mash to create a spirit not exceeding 80% alcohol content by volume (abv) and then aging the spirit for at least two years at an abv concentration not exceeding 62.5% at the start of the aging process.”  Thanks Wikipedia.  A lot of the whiskey being sold as such was in fact a much inferior product, and there were just no regulations to hold distilleries accountable.  For that reason (and for some tax incentive stuff that I won’t go into) Colonel Taylor and others were very much in favor of government regulation on their distilleries and their products, and thus the Bottled In Bond thing came about.

To be considered “Bottled In Bond,” a whiskey must fit these criteria:

–Must be the product of one distillation season in one distillery by a single distiller.

–Must be stored and later bottled in federally bonded warehouses under U.S. government supervision for no less than four years…so yes all “Bonded” whiskeys are at least four years old (as opposed to at least two years old if it’s just called “straight” whiskey)

–The spirit must be bottled at at least 100 proof, though it seems like every bottle that claims Bottled In Bond is bottled at exactly 100 proof…not sure what to make of this but I double checked, and the legal definition does not say it has to be exactly 100 proof.

–The bottle’s label must indicate by DSP number where it was distilled and bottled.  For example, E H. Taylor is distilled and bottled at Buffalo Trace, DSP-KY-113.

Sounds pretty logical right?  Well, for a long time it was the wild west of whiskey in Kentucky, people selling who knows what and calling it whiskey, but thanks to the Colonel we can all rest easy knowing the gov’ment’s got our backs on this one.

Oh, were you wondering what this bourbon tastes like?  You sure you don’t want to just hear some more about the BIB Act and the legalese of the government’s involvement in your bourbon?  Oh, ok, I guess I’ll just tell you my thoughts on the whiskey.  The nose is–SURPRISE!!–fantastic, Buffalo Trace all the way.  It’s fruit forward, lots of raspberry (reminiscent of the standard Buffalo Trace brand bourbon), caramel, vanilla, and oak.  Also getting a cool pinecone thing and dried apricots.  Well balanced, not as wall-of-fruit-in-your-face as BT can sometimes smell, and just the right amount of weird.  On your tongue it does great things, cinnamon and rye up front, a little caramel, followed by a nice apricot finish.  It is quite spicy, hard to believe it’s the same mash bill as the Small Batch, but it is.  Really a fun, interesting drink.

Another hit from Buffalo Trace, no surprise there.  I will say, while I rate this just as high as the Small Batch, I actually prefer to drink the Small Batch.  This is a more aggressive, more complicated whiskey, but the Small Batch just tastes so damn good and you don’t have to think about it as much.  For an every day drink, Small Batch wins, plus it’s almost half the price of this one.  But do add a bottle of this to your collection for those nights when you want to really think and talk about what’s in your glass.

Rating: 9.1 / 10

Bought for $69.99 at The Barn Bottle Shop in Pendergrass, GA.

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