“Crafted from hand-selected barrels, this bourbon is bottled directly from the barrel; uncut and unfiltered at more than 125 proof. It reflects the way whiskey was produced in the days before Prohibition, when Edmund Haynes Taylor, Jr. was the owner of Buffalo Trace Distillery. Drawn from barrels aged in warehouses constructed over a century ago under Taylor’s watchful eye, the taste is smooth, yet powerful and uncompromising, just like its namesake.”
Hailing from Buffalo Trace, one of the foremost distiller’s of our day and age, Colonel E.H. Taylor delivers a phenomenal lineup of bourbons, including a Barrel Proof which I am reviewing today. The diversity and traditional style of Edmund Haynes Jr.’s bourbons makes them stand out among the rest as a bourbon that has been tried and true to lovers of this sweet nectar for over a century. The Colonel E.H. Taylor Barrel Proof Bourbon uses Buffalo Trace’s Low Rye #1 Mash, (same as that of George Stagg) and is aged for at least 7 years.
ABV: 67.7% (135.4 Proof)
Aroma: Colonel E.H. Taylor’s Barrel Proof offers a full and rich aroma of Toasted Oak, Allspice, Malt and Black Cherry.
Flavor (Neat): Black Pepper, Oak, Tobacco and Caramel on the palate leaving notes of Espresso on the long, dry, and Smoky finish.
Flavor (W/ Splash of Water): Once a small amount of water is introduced, the Black Pepper is reduced which allows more of the sweetness and richness from the Caramel to shine through along with subtle Vanilla and Leather undertones.
Overall Impression: I’m a huge fan of Barrel Proof Bourbon’s, especially when they are exceptionally well balanced while remaining full bodied and full flavored; Colonel E.H. Taylor Barrel Proof is a great example of one such bourbon. Even at an impressive 135.4 proof, it is very drinkable, although there is a notable heat up front. With that said, however, I would certainly suggest trying this bourbon neat first, then adding a splash of water and allowing it to sit for several minutes before drinking, to remove just a bit of the heat up front and allow for the bourbon to open up just enough to allow all of the complex aromas and rich flavors to present themselves.
Closing Thoughts: If you enjoy high proof whiskeys, this is certainly one that I highly suggest. If you are only beginning to explore higher proof bourbons, you may want to start off with the Colonel E.H. Taylor Single Barrel, which sits at exactly 50% ABV (100 Proof) and was rated two points higher than Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve 23 at the 2012 Ultimate Spirits Challenge.