I spent Saturday morning reading about the fascinating Jim Murray, the author of the Whisky Bible and a well-known whisky critic. Mostly, I was looking for tips on whisky tasting in general – and he has a few good ideas – such as warming up the whisky to body temperature and not judging the whisky on the first sip. But many of his other concepts (no water – ever) and his very high-maintenance proclamations (no one is allowed to clean his suite in Kentucky, no sex, no hot food – and only bland foods, etc.)
He tends to be quite a huge bourbon fan and last year’s 2018 Whisky of the World award went to the EH Taylor 4 grain. Now, EH Taylor is difficult to find in San Francisco (just the Small Batch sells out on the K&L incoming spirits feed within minutes) – and the Small Batch has been the only one that I have been able to procure in the frenzied bottle-grab that the K&L feed inspires.
EH Taylor Small Batch Bourbon
- Score 66/10
Nose: Rum-like molasses, caramel, wood, vanilla, something a bit like cherry coke at the end
Palate without water: Can overwhelm the palate (very hot) without water. Hot wood, followed by charred leather and red hots on the finish.
Palate with water: More chocolate notes come out. The heat fades and you can pick out some more popped corn, leather, puffs of vanilla smoke, and bitter dark chocolate. There is some spice and pepper.
Mouthfeel: Medium finish and dry.
6 out of 10. Interesting. (Our rating system)
TLDR: “Hot and peppery chocolate bourbon”
Overview: Chocolate – and less sweet and oaky than other bourbons, with more dry and smoky notes
Bought for: ~$40 at K&L
- Cask: New American oak
- ABV: 50%
- Bottled in Bond (as with all EH Taylor), which is to say it is made from one distillation season and aged in a federally bonded warehouse at 50% proof
- Distilled, aged and bottled by Old Fashioned Copper (OFC) Distillery in Frankfort, KY
- NAS but by law it must be 4 years (some sources believe it to be 7 years or older)
- Year: 2017
About EH Taylor Jr.:
- Colonel Edmund Haynes Taylor, Jr began distilling around the Civil War, purchasing and renovating the OFC distillery (now known as Buffalo Trace).
- Orphaned at the age of 5 and adopted by his uncle Col. Edmund Hayes Taylor, who dubbed himself “EH Taylor Sr.” and his nephew “EH Taylor Jr.”. EH Taylor Jr. was initially trained in banking by his uncle.
- One of the major backers of the bottled-in-bond act of 1897