Colonel E.H. Taylor straight rye (50% ABV)
Star rating: 5/5
Distillers Direct (£96.99)
Produced by the Buffalo Trace distillery, this whiskey is named in honour of Edmund Haynes Taylor Jr., one of the pioneers of the bourbon industry.
Although he bears the title, Colonel Taylor was no more of a military colonel than Colonel Sanders. Both men were anointed ‘Kentucky Colonel’, an honorary title afforded by the state to, well, people they like – they don’t even have to be from Kentucky.
Taylor’s contributions to American whiskey cannot be overstated. The Kentucky Colonel is said to have been one of the driving forces behind the ‘Bottled-in-Bond Act’ – a measure which became the first consumer protection law in America.
At the time of the bill’s inception in 1897, whiskey was often mixed with iodine and tobacco in order to maximise profits. This act provided tax breaks to participating distilleries but was a mark of quality, it assured consumers that they weren’t drinking moonshine.
Great nephew to President Zachary Taylor, the whiskey maker is also regarded as the innovator of climate controlled ageing in warehouses. He also once owned what is now Buffalo Trace Distillery, investing a small fortune in it. Come on, he did a lot.
The Buffalo Trace Distillery is today one of the great forces in the whiskey industry. The company produces a number of much adored brands such as Pappy Van Winkle, Eagle Rare and Stagg bourbon.
The Colonel E.H. Taylor straight rye is bottled-in-bond, just as the man himself would have wanted. This means that it has been distilled by one distillery in one distilling season, it has been matured for no less than four years in a federally bonded warehouse and is bottled at no less than 100 proof.
We could go into the technicalities of a bonded warehouse but there isn’t enough whiskey in the world to make explaining tax law an enjoyable exercise.
The nose of the bottle is made up of citrus, slick with iodine and peppered with rye, orange comes to the fore. The palate is nearly chewable, dense with butterscotch and caramel, pepper and smashed deep red cherries. The finish is long and carries the caramel through with bumps of pepper and dollops of cinnamon and nutmeg.
The perfect pour
If you enjoy this bottle, then try the Colonel E.H. Taylor Small Batch for a lighter, more fruit forward, bourbon character. The Small Batch expression is a delectable marriage of spicy rye and mellow corn, ideal with one large ice cube.
Distillers Direct (£96.99)
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This review was last updated in June 2020. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.