Colonel E.H. Taylor – Single Barrel – Straight Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey | 50% (100 Proof) $72.99 or (here)
Color/Appearance: Deep amber. Here is a bottle design that I absolutely love. It feels like something you discovered in a dusty old liquor store. Every detail perfect at evoking a time long gone. Bottled in Bond Straight Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey, those words mean something. In a day and age where producers are pulling the wool over our eyes left and right this is one of the pinnacles of quality. Sure you could have barrel proof but 50% is kind of a great threshold.
Nose: An oak cabinet filled with spices. Fragrant fresh oranges, buttery toffee, coco, and cinnamon strudel. An almost dried pink rose. Wonderful stuff. Inviting but right away you know that oak rather than sweet will be at the forefront. Give it lots of time in the glass and a drop or two of water.
Palate: Powerful and dense, it comes in a little hot but then opens up to reveal a complex web of flavors. Raw sugar cooked down in a wooden bowl over an open fire, tobacco, sawdust, and graphite. Barrel char and oak are the seasoning to this fine distillate with a large roll to play. Offsetting this is orange infused maple syrup and peppermint hard candy. Austere and dry this well structured bourbon keeps it relatively simple but in doing so stays close to the heart of what makes bourbon so great.
Finish: Intense oak, dry cinnamon and a little aspirin. This dryness is powerful but somehow seems to highlight the few sweet notes. A drop of condensed maple syrup. The last lingering bit of flavor from an almost completely dissolved butterscotch. Then a spritz of orange peel drying on a oak toothpick.
Overall: This bourbon is not upfront at all with sweetness and has a more imposing woody nature, but hiding inside are some seriously delicious flavors. I enjoy taking my time with this and mining its treasures. Another very fine bourbon from the Buffalo Trace Distillery. If you like your bourbons very sweet and on the simpler side this may not be for you. For me though it is a wonderful dense bourbon puzzle that I enjoy trying to solve. Just give it some time, sit back and don’t try so hard. As soon as your thoughts wander and the bourbon has a chance to breathe, a chemical reaction will happen between you and the whiskey allowing for communication at a higher level. It is worth waiting for.