The newest limited edition bourbon from Buffalo Trace is Colonel E.H. Taylor Four Grain. It’s a 12-year-old bottled-in-bond bourbon made from corn, wheat, rye, and malted barley. Most bourbon is made with three grains consisting mostly of corn with a flavoring grain and a very small percentage of barley. That flavoring grain is typically rye, though some producers use wheat. This bourbon isn’t the first to feature four grains in its mash bill, but it could go on to become one of the most noteworthy.
“We wanted to extract everything we like from both the rye and the wheat mashbills we currently use and combine them to see how they react,” said Master Distiller Harlen Wheatley in the press release. “Not surprisingly, it added complexity to the finished product.”
I’m a big fan of the Colonel E.H. Taylor line, from its Small Batch and Single Barrel releases to the recent limited edition Cured Oak. Last year’s Seasoned Wood was nice enough, but I sadly wasn’t able to get my hands on a bottle. That’s the problem with limited releases these days. One thing that might help here is that Buffalo Trace has also announced a bottling of Four Grain to be released next year. I hope that’s a sign that this whiskey may become a semi-regular addition to the Taylor lineup. So, how’s the whiskey?
The nose is rounded and sweet, with an initial wave of spiced caramel and vanilla alongside hints of orange jam and herbs. The entry is initially sweet, with notes of caramel and vanilla. A small amount of spice comes through. I’m assuming that’s the rye grain at work. I also pick up some wonderful candied fruit buried somewhere in the mix. Some sweet oak adds a touch of astringency on the backend. The finish is long, sweet and spicy. Interestingly, a small sip of water afterwards leaves the mouth a bit dry.
All in all, Four Grain is a solid bourbon, but not a particularly memorable one. I thought a four grain mash bill would lead to a really complex bourbon, and in that regard my expectations weren’t quite met. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice. The flavors in the bottle play well together, but it left me wanting a little bit more. That said, I’d gladly pay retail ($69.99) for a bottle, but not a penny more. 8/10
Thanks to Buffalo Trace for the sample. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.