Maker: Buffalo Trace, Frankfort, Kentucky, USA (Sazerac)
Age: 9 y/o
Style: High Corn Bourbon
Proof: 100 (50% ABV)
Appearance: Copper with thick lumbering legs
Nose: Slightly yeasty, but not unpleasant. Hint of tobacco, spearmint.
On the palate: Medium bodied, bit of caramel, spearmint, and tarragon. Sweeter with a splash of water. Homemade marshmallows, Alpine Mints.
Finish: Fairly short, some caramel, vanilla. Longer and mintier with water. Leaves behind a nice tingle in the lips.
Parting Words: First, I should mention the bottle and the canister this came in. Both are beautiful. They’re similar in design, busy and slightly campy, but very well designed. I know I’m a sap, but I got a little choked up to see the Old Taylor “Castle” Distillery gone from the right side of the label, replaced by a vintage picture of the O.F.C. Distillery (nka Buffalo Trace).
The Old Taylor castle is one of the greatest (if not the greatest) derelict distilleries in Kentucky. If you are visiting Woodford Reserve distillery, turn left out of the parking lot and keep driving down McCracken Pike through the woods and horse farms. You’ll think you’re lost, until a massive castle-like distillery looms up on your left side. Right next door is the Old Crow distillery. Park on the right side of the road, look around and take a lot of pictures. Trespassing is, of course, illegal.
At any rate, this new Old Taylor, made at E.H. Taylor’s first distillery, is the first in the series of high-end bottlings under that name from Buffalo Trace, who acquired the brand from Beam in 2010 (I think). Buffalo Trace representatives have said they want this line to be for rye-recipe bourbons what Van Winkle has become for wheaters. They have a long way to go.
This first edition was made using an older method of creating a sour mash. Instead of adjusting the ph in the mash tub, the mash was allowed to sit in the holding area before going into the still for a few days until proper sourness was achieved. This shows up in some of the sourdough notes I picked up. The second release was single barrel, the current release is the “Tornado Survivor” edition, which I hope to acquire and review in a few weeks.
At any rate, Taylor Old Fashioned Sour Mash is not bad, pretty good, actually. The problem is the price. I’ve had Binny’s selected bottles of Buffalo Trace bourbon that were as good or better than this, but at half the price. I don’t think it’s fair to give this a non-recommendation since I did enjoy it, but I can’t bring myself to be enthusiastic either. Col. E.H. Taylor Old Fashioned Sour Mash gets a mild recommendation.
Thanks to John Burlowski for helping me acquire this bottle.