Colonel E. H. Taylor

Colonel E.H. Taylor Four Grain Bourbon Review

EHT Four Grain

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.

Col. E.H. Taylor Seasoned Wood Bourbon Review

Photo courtesy of Buffalo Trace Distillery.

Photo courtesy of Buffalo Trace Distillery.

Buffalo Trace Distillery just announced the eighth addition to the Col. E.H. Taylor line – Seasoned Wood.  Just like its brethren, Seasoned Wood is bottled-in-bond, which means it’s bottled at 100 proof and is at least four years old (among other things).  According to press materials, this release is “aged well over a decade”.  This the first wheated bourbon in the Taylor lineup.  Seasoned Wood is a one-time, limited release.

What is seasoned wood exactly?  According to Buffalo Trace:

The barrels in this release underwent a variety of special seasoning processes,   including barrels made from staves that were immersed in an enzyme rich bath with water heated to 100 degrees.  After spending time in this proprietary solution, these staves were then placed into kilns and dried until they reached an ideal humidity level for crafting into barrels.  Other staves were seasoned outdoors for six months, and still others were left outdoors for a full 12 months before being made into barrels and sent to Buffalo Trace Distillery to be filled and aged.  All barrel staves were seasoned, dried, and crafted at Independent Stave Company, who consulted on this project with the premiere expert on oak maturation, Dr. James Swan.

Onto my tasting notes:

The aromatic nose leads with a strong honey note.  Dried cherries, fresh orange peel, and a floral note follow.  In an odd way, it sort of smells like an Old Fashioned cocktail.  There is little to no alcohol vapor to speak of, considering this is a 100 proof bourbon.  The entry is soft, with spiced honey starting things off.  That citrus note and dried fruit from the nose also finds its way to the palate, cutting right through the creamy mouthfeel.  Some oak is present providing a touch of astringency in the back-palate.  The finish is long and warm, leaving citrus, baking spice and honey behind to slowly fade away.  It leaves your mouth watering for more.

You can guess I’m a fan of this one.  Seasoned Wood is a very welcome addition to the good-to-excellent range of Col. E.H. Taylor whiskies.  It’s overall softer but richer profile stands out among others in the lineup.  This is a very well executed bourbon from Buffalo Trace that receives a high recommendation.  Seasoned Wood will be available starting late March for a suggested retail priced of $69.99.  The fact that it is limited won’t help your chances of finding a bottle.  In the rare instance you do see one, pick it up.

(Note: A small review sample was provided by Buffalo Trace.)

Colonel E.H. Taylor Rye Whiskey Review


Released back in 2012, Colonel E.H. Taylor Rye Whiskey is the only non-bourbon in the E.H. Taylor lineup.  Also of note, this straight rye whiskey does not share DNA with Buffalo Trace’s Sazerac Rye.  This is a completely different rye mash bill.  This is made entirely of rye and barley.  That’s right, there’s no corn here.  What it does share with its brethren whiskies is the bottled-in-bond label.  In a nutshell, that means it’s 100 proof, at least four years old, and distilled by one distillery in one season.  Taylor, the man, was the proponent of the Bottled-In-Bond Act of 1897.