Some might argue that Colonel Edmund Haynes Taylor, Jr., is more relevant to bourbon today than he was in the 1800’s. Buffalo Trace now sits on the property where Colonel Taylor’s O.F.C. once stood, and the new distillery has seemingly spared no expense in connecting itself with the legend of Colonel Taylor, even though he attained truly legendary status after he left the O.F.C. to George T. Stagg and built the famed Old Taylor Distillery. With the guidance and expertise of bourbon archaeologist, Nicolas Laracuente, Buffalo Trace uncovered what it calls Bourbon Pompei, tanks used by Colonel Taylor at the O.F.C. Similarly, Warehouse C—built while Colonel Taylor owned the property—has become a top attraction, and the Col. E. H. Taylor brand has become a highly sought-after brand and Buffalo Trace’s sole connection to Bottled in Bond whiskey. My historical sensibilities are slightly offended by the use of a red faux tax strip when Bottled in Bond tax strips back in the day were green, but consumers won’t ever notice.
Buffalo Trace has expanded the brand from the sad bottom shelf Old Taylor to Col. E. H. Taylor Small Batch, Single Barrel, Rye, and limited editions. A slew of Rye hit local retail last fall, so I picked one up. I opened it on Halloween with some friends and none of us were overly impressed (but, to be fair, we had some pretty good bottles open). I revisited it several times since and it grew on me over these months.
Colonel E. H. Taylor Bottled in Bond Rye Tasting Notes
|Whiskey:||Colonel E. H. Taylor Bottled in Bond Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey|
|Distillery:||Barton, but bottled at Buffalo Trace (so not distilled at the property once owned by Col. Taylor)|
|Mashbill:||All rye and malted barley; no corn|
|Age:||Not stated, but at least four years old|
|ABV:||50% (100 proof)|
Black pepper and dried apricot dominate, with a bit of sweet citrus, vanilla, and nougat.
I’m more familiar with the 95% rye grain Straight Rye Whiskey from MGP, and this E. H. Taylor does not taste anything like it. Somehow, despite all of that rye and the lack of any corn, it’s more like a bourbon. It’s rye grain dominant for sure, but it shares some characteristics with a buttery bourbon. After the rye there are ripe berries, caramel, and oak flavors, before it shifts back to black pepper.
Medium-ish and dry.
The Buffalo Trace website touts that E. H. Taylor Rye received a Silver Medal in 2020 and 2019 at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, but, frankly, that’s not saying much. Silver doesn’t mean “second best” in San Francisco; it comes after Platinum, Double Gold, and Gold. Silver is probably a fair ranking; it’s well above average and certainly enjoyable, but it’s still overpriced compared to its peers.
Other, less expensive (and arguably better) options include Wild Turkey Rare Breed Rye and one of my favorites, Heaven Hill Pikesville Rye, but then again, neither of those come in a fancy tube.