EZdrinking

Searching for the world's best drinks and what makes them extraordinary.

Searching for the world's best drinks and what makes them extraordinary. EZdrinking is a drinks blog by Eric Zandona that focuses on distilled spirits, wine, craft beer and specialty coffee. Here you can find reviews of drinks, drink books, articles about current & historical trends, as well as how to make liqueurs, bitters, and other spirit based drinks at home.

Filtering by Tag: Buffalo Trace

Review: E.H. Taylor Small Batch Bottled In Bond Bourbon

Colonel E. H. Taylor Small Batch Bottled in Bond Kentucky Bourbon is distilled by Buffalo Trace Distillery and and bottled at 50% ABV.

Price Range: $40-$50

Buffalo Trace is located in Frankfurt, Kentucky and owned by  Sazerac, a privately held company, headquartered in New Orleans, Louisiana. In 1992, Sazerac purchased what was then called the George T. Stagg Distillery and after completing renovations in 1999, they renamed it Buffalo Trace Distillery. 

The E.H. Taylor bourbon line consists of four standard variations all of which come in a lovely canister and are labeled bottled in bond except for the barrel proof bottling. The E.H. Taylor Small Batch is distilled from Buffalo Trace's Mash Bill #1, a high corn mash bill which is believed to have 10% or less, rye as a flavoring grain. E.H. Taylor has no age statement so it is legally required to be at least 4 years old, however, most estimates place it between 7 and 12 years old.

E.H. Taylor Small Batch Bourbon was one of nine whiskeys I included in a blind tasting of bourbons less than $50.

TASTING NOTES

Nose: Smells of light vanilla and rose petals with milk chocolate, and a hint of orange zest.

Palate: Tastes slightly sweet, with a smooth texture. The heat from the 100 proof is noticeable on the first sip but it mellows as you continue to drink.

Finish: Full of warm spice notes like clove and ground ginger.  It has a woody character like young pine with medium tannins that leaves the palate dry waiting for the next sip. This wood flavor is non-traditional for a Kentucky Bourbon so it may not appeal those who prefer a more pronounced oak character.

Conclusion: This bottling of Colonel Taylor is very floral and has a light nose, with its young woodiness it is a fun and different kind of bourbon that doesn't taste like everything else. While a solid bourbon, at its price point, I'm not sure it would make it into my regular rotation or that I would buy a second bottle. However, at 100 proof it will hold up well in any bourbon cocktail especially a Manhattan. 

Blind Whiskey Tasting $20 and Under

In June, David Driscoll of K&L Wines wrote a series of post called “Drinking to Drink.” While the series touched on a number of things, one of the themes was how whiskey drinkers often correlate price with enjoyment.  Driscoll argued that just because one whiskey is $80 doesn't mean that a drinker will enjoy it four times more than a $20 bottle.  In that same vein he suggested that there were a number of quality whiskeys that could be had for $20 and enjoyed more regularly without breaking the bank. After reading this series, I was inspired to organize a whiskey tasting of bottles that retailed around $20 or less.  I was curious to find out if there was a whiskey that I had overlooked simply because it lived on a lower shelf in the liquor aisle.

With some help from another post by Driscoll and my own mental list, I put together a list of six whiskies around $20 for the tasting.

  1. Buffalo Trace Bourbon
  2. Old Weller Antique Bourbon
  3. Jim Beam Black Label Bourbon
  4. Evan Williams Black Label Bourbon
  5. George Dickel No. 12 Tennessee Whisky
  6. Bank Note Blended Scotch Whisky

I know that Bulleit Bourbon can also be found on sale for under $20 but my friends and I are pretty familiar with it so I decided to leaving it out of the tasting.  I also decided to conduct the tasting blind. That there are a number of factors that can sway the perception of how good a beer, wine or spirit is based on external factors like, what shelf it's on in the store, label design, bottle shape and price.  I wanted to get an honest assessment of the contents of the bottles without being swayed by some of those external factors, so I had my wife wrap all the bottles in brown paper bags before the tasting.

The night of the tasting a friend of mine hosted the event and provided glasses, snacks and still water. We tasted the spirits in random order in glencairn glasses, neat, at room temperature.  We each took notes about what we tasted and gave each spirit a rating.  Once everyone had tasted all the whiskeys we revealed each whiskey from lowest to highest score.

 The undisputed favorite of the evening was Evan Williams Black Label, the least expensive whiskey, which retails at my local Safeway for $9.99.  I had tasted Evan Williams only once before a few months prior and I thought it would do well in the tasting but I didn't expect it to come out on top. Next came Buffalo Trace and Old Weller Antique.  I wasn't that surprised that these did well for the whole group but personally I was shocked that I had rated Old Weller above Buffalo Trace. This surprised me because I really like rye whiskeys and I have never been a fan of Maker's Mark. I assumed that this meant that I didn't like wheated bourbons and that I preferred bourbons with rye in their mash bill over wheat.  But even at 107 proof, I felt like Old Weller was more balanced and had more character compared to the 90 proof Buffalo Trace.

Dickel, Beam and Bank Note finished in the lower half.  Bank Note is a blended Scotch, and for the price I still think it is pretty good but I suspect that compared to all the bourbons it stood out like a sore thumb, and not it a good way.  The results that evening are exactly why I like to do blind tastings.  My assumptions about what I do and don't like were challenged and as a result I now have two new favorite whiskeys under $20: Evan Williams, and Old Weller.