Classification: Straight Bourbon
Company: Sazerac Company, Inc.
Distillery: Buffalo Trace
Release Date: Ongoing
Mashbill: Undisclosed (Buffalo Trace's Mashbill #1, believed to be 10% rye or less)
E.H. Taylor, Jr. Single Barrel is part of the E.H. Taylor, Jr. line, which also includes Small Batch, Barrel Proof, and Rye variants released throughout the year, along with limited one-off releases. With the exception of their Barrel Proof bourbon, all E.H. Taylor whiskeys are Bottled in Bond (BiB). To be labelled BiB, the whiskey must be the product of one distillation season and one distiller at a single distillery, aged in a federally bonded warehouse under U.S. government supervision for at least four years, and it must be bottled at exactly 100 proof. Additionally, the BiB label must clearly identify the distillery where it was distilled and where it was bottled, if different.
Classic scents greet the nose. Oak infused creamy vanilla is most prominent. Joining in are wafts of oatmeal, creamed corn, bubble gum, and fresh summer flowers. There is also the slightest touch of ethanol, which thankfully is less of a distraction and more of a reminder that this is a 100 proof bourbon. The vanilla scents are the highlight of the nose and are both delicate and prominent all at once. They make for a lovely way to open the sip.
This single barrel provides a palate that rewards you for taking your time and really exploring the sip. The vanilla carries over to the palate, however it isn’t the main focus. Instead a multitude of flavors develop alongside, including raisins, brown sugar, butterscotch, rye spice, dried oak, and leather. Its breadth and depth are a delight to explore, and when you add in its creamy mouthfeel, the palate is clearly the star of the sip.
The finish is full of drier flavors, which includes tobacco, leather, oak, and rye spice. A light dollop of butterscotch helps to temper the dryness. Oak and white pepper linger for an incredibly long time, giving the finish a welcomed staying power that ends on a high note.
While bottled in bond bourbons are easy to find, single barrel variants are more rare. Current widely distributed ongoing releases include E.H. Taylor, Jr Single Barrel and Henry McKenna Single Barrel. Both share the bottled in bond designation, but Henry McKenna carries a 10 year age statement along with the barrel number that it originated from. This is a main difference and differentiator between the two, as I’ve found some great Henry McKenna Single Barrels and some just satisfactory ones. Whereas with E.H. Taylor, Jr. Single Barrels, I’ve found more consistency from bottle to bottle, which may also be why Buffalo Trace chooses not to distinguish what barrel a bottle comes from or apply an age statement which would allow them to select more specifically by taste.
Being uncommon doesn’t automatically translate to a successful product, yet in this case it does turn out that way. The single barrel variant of the E.H. Taylor line seems to fill in the gaps that I find its small batch sibling to have. Whereas I find Small Batch to be lacking in complexity in the palate and longevity in the finish, the Single Barrel makes up for these shortcomings. It’s a bourbon that delivers a more refined sip overall and really highlights the capabilities of Buffalo Trace’s Mashbill #1.
Coming in at $60, E.H. Taylor, Jr. Single Barrel is priced right in the middle of the three ongoing release E.H. Taylor bourbons. There’s no beating around the bush when it comes to this line, $60 is a great price for this bourbon. It may not be age stated or a high proof burner, however for the money, you’re getting a bottled in bond bourbon that delivers big on flavor and complexity, resulting in truly an enjoyable sip. While you may pay less for Small Batch, which I find to be above average, Single Barrel elevates the line's game overall, and delivers a sip that other bottled in bond bourbons should strive to match.
A well-rounded bourbon at a very fair price, E.H. Taylor, Jr. Single Barrel is an example of what other bottled in bond bourbons should strive to be.
E.H. Taylor, Jr. Single Barrel is a gem in the E.H. Taylor family. It fills in the shortcomings of Small Batch nicely, which results in a sip that is full of flavor and complexity. It may not be a high proofer, but instead uses every bit of its 100 proof to pull out just the right amount of intensity of flavors in its sip. If you’re a fan of Buffalo Trace’s Mashbill #1, a fan or the E.H. Taylor series, or just a lover of bottled in bond bourbons in general, do yourself a favor and seek out a bottle of E.H. Taylor, Jr. Single Barrel. It’s not the best bourbon ever produced, but it is a really great example of what a bottled in bond single barrel bourbon is capable of becoming.