Colonel E. H. Taylor Jr. Small Batch Bourbon Review
The name Colonel E. H. Taylor Jr. should ring synonymous with the term Bottled In Bond amongst American whiskey enthusiasts. For the rest of you have a seat, its story time. Colonel Edmund Haynes Taylor, Jr. (Not a military Colonel but rather a Kentucky Colonel) is the grand nephew of General Zachary Taylor, the 12th president of the United States of America. Taylor is well known for his involvement as a lobbyist in fighting for the Bottled In Bond Act of 1897. This would explain while all of the CEHT line of whiskeys (with the exception of the Barrel Proof) are Bottled In Bond. One of Taylor's more famous distilleries (He started and owned 7 not to mention that the O.F.C. Distillery is now the modern day Buffalo Trace Distillery!) was the Old Taylor Distillery in Millville near Frankfort. The Old Taylor distillery was was built in 1887 and was designed to look like a Medieval Castle. The site fell into ruins after a few decades of neglect and is now being refurbished as the Castle & Key Distillery. Sazerac owns the rights to the Old Taylor trademark which is why the distillery was forced to rebrand. Getting off topic here......
The CEHT line of whiskeys is produced at the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort Kentucky. The regular CEHT lineup consists of the Small Batch, Single Barrel, Barrel Proof, and Straight Rye. These are all Bottled In Bond with the exception of the Barrel Proof which exceeds the 100 proof requirement for BIB. A number of limited and experiemental whiskeys have been released under the CEHT brand including the Warehouse C Tornado Surviving, Sour Mash, Cured Oak, and Seasoned Wood (which has a wheated mashbill). Chuck Cowdery wrote a great article a while back discussing the various LE releases under the CEHT label and wether they were diluting the brand. With the exception of the Rye and the Seasoned Wood the rest of the CEHT lineup is believed to share the BT Mashbill #1 which has a lower rye content.
Cost: Bottle purchased for $40 in SC which seems to be the average.
Distillery: Buffalo Trace Distillery
Age: NAS but at least 4 years
Mashbill: Buffalo Trace Mashbill #1 (rye component believed to be 10% or less)
Pour: 2 oz neat in Glencairn glass
Nose: Warm jalapeño cornbread with butter, stone fruit, pears, caramel dipped apples, butterscotch, apricot jam, candy corn, smarties. Young - not much oak influence but very sweet and fruity with some corny notes but in a good way.
Palate: Light/ medium viscosity. touch of oak, caramel chews, orchard fruit, coarse ground white and black pepper.
Finish: White pepper, red hots, and more caramel with a long finish. Nice dynamic shift from the fruit and corn.
Not going to lie - I wrote off the whole CEHT lineup a while back. It just felt overpriced, overhyped, and generally unavailable (with the exception of the rye which sits on the shelves year around these parts). One of my local stores had got in a shipment of the small batch and was selling at a reasonable price - so I figured what the hell and pulled the trigger. I was not dissapointed. The CEHT Small Batch reminds me of the Eagle Rare 10 Year Single Barrel I finished up a while back but cranked up another notch. The nose is dense with orchard fruit, sweets, and a touch of corn. The palate is laced with caramel, more fruit and a touch of oak. The finish has just the right amount of spice and linger. All around I think this is a solid bourbon at the price point. My one gripe is that it does drink a bit young from the perception of the sweeter corn notes.
With most Buffalo Trace I tend to be either underwhelmed or simply "whelmed". I attribute this to highly allocated products that see no end to the hype train or products that simply don't stand up to their price tags. However, for once I have found a BT product that I really enjoy at the price point. Also the packaging is really, really nice. Cheers.