Old Fire Copper

Posted 17 October 2017 by Matt / In Buffalo Trace
The Dramble's tasting notes for Colonel E.H. Taylor Jr. Small Batch Bourbon

Bottle Name: Colonel E.H. Taylor Jr. Small Batch Bourbon

ABV: 50%
Distillery: Buffalo Trace
Region: USA

Colonel E.H. Taylor Jr. Four Grain has just been named Jim Murray’s Whisky of Year 2018 – moving it into the perma-unobtanium category which whisky fans all know and largely hate. I did get to try it whilst in the US earlier in the year, and like the rest of the E.H. Taylor Jr. Collection it’s very solid indeed. But, fear not, for whilst the Four Grain may be destined for liquid snow-globe status, there are plenty of interesting expressions in the E.H Taylor Jr. Collection worth exploring.  There are always malternatives my friends.

The E.H. Taylor Jr. brand proposition is still based on Colonel Edmund Haynes Taylor Jr. who, following the end of the American Civil War founded the O.F.C. (Old Fire Copper) distillery in 1870. There’s not much left of the original distillery, but you can see some very interesting excavations: http://www.distillerytrail.com/blog/explore-ruins-1873-o-f-c-distillery-immersive-3d-tour/.

The Colonel is not just famous for founding the distillery and the eponymous line up of bottles which it produced – he also was instrumental to the 1897 Bottled-in-Bond Act, which stated that any bourbon which was: made by one distiller, at a single distillery, in a single distilling season (a year), aged for four or more years and bottled at least at 100 proof may be labelled ‘Bottled-in-Bond’.

E.H. Taylor Jr. Small Batch Bourbon is the entry-point in to the Taylor’s range and is indeed Bottled in Bond. It’s an NAS (though Internet bourbon buffs suggest an age of around 7 years) that is bottled at 100 proof (50% ABV). Let’s take a look.

Nose: Expressive from the get-go. Vanilla, butterscotch, toffee and a variety of spices including cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg. A light earthiness persists under the surface and is joined by baking soda and just the slightest hint of farmyard. Dried berries and raisins provide some fruitiness – which is both deep and also slightly sour.

Taste: Cask forward with a well-balanced but strong mouth-feel. Vanilla and charred wood lead with pepper, cinnamon and chilli supporting.  Toffee and butterscotch provide the sweetness, cherries and liquorice provide the sourness and there’s some roasted nuts and light varnish/glue giving yet more depth.

Finish: Medium to long favouring vanilla and leathery notes.

Colonel E.H. Taylor Small Batch Bourbon is a very solid entry point to the Taylor range. The 100 proof turns out to be just the right strength to deliver bold and interesting flavours without the alcohol taking over too much. However, it very much depends on where you purchase this how satisfied you might be with your end product. I picked this up in the US for around $40  - but in the UK prices seem to vary from around £75 all the way up to £120. There’s import tax and then there’s utter greed. Either way, whilst this is a good quality small batch bourbon I’d only really recommend it at the dollar price if you can find it.

Score: 84/100

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