Every regular bourbon drinker has THE bourbon, the one that opened up the portal to the possibilities that the spirit offers. For me, it wasn’t one bourbon, but several from the constellation of Buffalo Trace’s collection. Blanton’s. Elmer T. Lee. Eagle Rare. This was a galaxy I wanted to inhabit.
My first pours of any of the 7 E.H. Taylor, Jrs., were experienced in this order: the Tornado Surviving, then Cured Oak, and the Barrel Proof. Tough life, I know. But, I had spent so much time chasing unicorns that I had overlooked the “entry-level” E.H. Taylor Small Batch. Big mistake. Big. Huge.
In short, E.H. Taylor, Jr. small batch is what philosophy majors call a “Platonic ideal” – if there was one first bourbon, and all other bourbons were shadows of that bourbon, it would be this one.
The History of Colonel E.H. Taylor, Jr., Abridged.
After the Civil War, “Colonel” E.H. Taylor, Jr. purchased a Frankfort, Kentucky distillery and called it “Old Fire Copper” or O.F.C., in a nod to the copper kettles commonly used for distilling whiskey in Europe. O.F.C. was later sold to George T. Stagg, and, nearly 100 years later, was renamed Buffalo Trace. In addition to his eponymous line of bourbon, E.H. Taylor, Jr. is best known for his work on the Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897. Anything labeled “Bottled-in-Bond” means the bourbon is made by one distiller at one distillery in one distilling season (one year), has been aged for four or more years, and has been bottled at 100 proof. E.H. Taylor, Jr. Small Batch is Bottled In Bond.
Colonel E.H. Taylor, Jr. Small Batch Bourbon Review
Name: Colonel E.H.Taylor, Jr. Small Batch
Proof: 100 proof / 50% ABV
Age: NAS – (No Age Statement) but The Internets seem to agree 7 years
How I Drank It: First pour: Neat in a Libbey 5130 5-oz Old Fashioned Glass; Second pour: With 11 drops of water
Nose: This smells like walking into a rick house during a distillery tour in Kentucky: the air is faintly sweet with the angel’s share, which is made even better by the contrast of slowly aging wood and dust.
Taste: This entire pour reminded me of driving down a red dirt road on the island of Kauai with sugarcane clacking in the breeze to signal an approaching tropical storm. The first moment of the sip picks up the greenness of the sugar cane stalks and the road ahead begins to…
Burn: … rise gently like a rolling hill in the mid-palate, which then drops back down as it passes on to the back of the throat. Then boom: a vortex of singed sugar which sends spice vapors spiraling up, and out, like the outer bands of a hurricane. Anticipation. Adventure. Adrenaline. It is all here.
Neat, Splash or Rocks: At 100 proof, it may be a little hot for some. I drank it neat, but found that diluting it with a few drops of water didn’t make the pour overly thin.
Share With: TYour friend from Wisconsin who used to drink brandy and now drinks Eagle Rare. Upgrade to EH Taylor Barrel Proof during Packers’ OT.
Worth The Price: For $40? Buy a case.
Bottle, Bar or Bust: Bottle. At this price point, this is your “light at the end of a long-day-at-work tunnel” but not your everyday sipper or mixer. Unless that’s how you roll.
Here’s a #bourbongraph that I created while sampling Colonel E.H. Taylor, Jr. Small Batch for this review.
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