I am a fan of the Col. E.H. Taylor line from Buffalo Trace, even though they tend to be hard to get a hold of here in Virginia. Because of that limited availability I’ve only had the single barrel, rye, and the small batch. The single barrel so far has been my favorite and it’s a bourbon I’d buy regularly if I could find it.

Yesterday I picked up a bottle of the barrel proof that I was lucky enough to win in a lotto, so how does it compare to the rest of the expressions?


Colonel E. H. Taylor, Jr. Barrel Proof


Color: Brilliant Amber

Nose: Right off the bat you get a nice fruity aroma of cherries, plums, and raisins with underlying notes of brown sugar, caramel, and oak. It’s an absolutely delightful aroma.

Taste: As far as burn goes, this bourbon punches a bit above its weight compared to other barrel proof bourbons that I’ve had lately that are of higher proof. In this way it reminds me a bit of Booker’s Dot’s Batch–minus some of the complexity–or the early batches of Stagg, Jr. The rye spice kicks off with a nice burn on the mid-ridge of the tongue all the down to the tip and simultaneously spreading to the roof of the mouth. Along with the spice you get oak, leather, and herbal hints–rosemary and sage. Those notes, however, are definitely subservient to the spice which can be a bit overwhelming.

Finish: As the burn fades away the mouth is left with a nice tingle and a bold smoky tobacco taste similar to a cigar but without the aftertaste that leaves a bad taste in your mouth for the next couple of days. As can be expected underlying the tobacco taste is the rye spice. The aftertaste was easily my favorite part of this bourbon.

Verdict: B+

If I had one word to sum up this bourbon it’d be bold. Like Booker’s it’s uncut and unfiltered and that rawness really comes through. While not a super complex bourbon, the flavors there are prominent and brash. A bit of water helps temper some of the burn and open it up slightly but it can be drank neat. Although, it toes the line between overwhelming your palate with the rye spice and scintillating your taste buds. Someone who is not used to higher proof bourbons would definitely want to add some ice or water.