The mighty Colonel E.H. Taylor - in Barrel Proof form. I've tried a few sips of the Batch 9 release at a friends house before and was always impressed. I knew I had to try this latest release from there. Here we are on a lovely Tuesday evening, settling in for a deep-dive full review of the start of this fantastic bottle. I anticipate coming back to this at another point in time later in the bottle, but for now let's see how the first pour tastes!
Company on Label: Old Fashioned Copper (Buffalo Trace)
Whiskey Type: Bourbon
Mash Bill Percentages: Buffalo Trace Mash Bill #1 (Low Rye < 10%)
Age: NAS (supposedly 6-8 years)
Further identification: Batch 10 is the 2021 release of EHTBP
Nose: Rich caramel to start on the nose. There are characteristics of dusty dates and raisins. Very, very fruit forward with a bit of the dark tannic grape I also get from the Small Batch offering. Some rich dark-as-night chocolate and oak bark. Fig, prunes, dried cherry... you name the dark fruit or stone fruit - it's in here in a cacophony of a sweet medley. Oooh turning slightly meaty/malty like a Thanksgiving spiral ham glaze. This reminds me a lot of what I love about Booker's 2019-03 Country Ham. A salty kind of briny texture is present on the nose now. This one is evolving very well so far before even thinking about a sip. Smoky charred oak starts to make way for a sharp vanilla bean. Some faint herbal malts can be picked up from the depths on deep inhales. Very little heat coming out of this glass - a very silky nose feel. The fruit mixes back in well now to an ashy/smoky mix. It's like strawberry jam now. This smells so delicious! From here I let my glass rest a while for the duration of my dinner (Korean sweet tacos, oh my).
Now that the glass has been resting for some time it's deeply steeped in rich, earthy chocolate and toasted almonds. Lemongrass, dusty bookshelves and ever so slight hints of mint dance about. This glass is just an absolute powerhouse of aromas - it keeps pumping them out without any sting or bite. Finally it is time for a sip!
Oooh, things immediately opened up to the lighter side after my first sip; it feels like a river that was partially blocked can now flow unhindered. Floral now, with a sweeter, thinner caramel air hanging about still. Feels very summer forward - like I should be on a picnic, or definitely at least somewhere grassy. A lovely sweet molasses on the left nose and vanilla & white pepper on the right nose. This reminds me very much of the Buffalo Trace product profile I fell for early on in my whiskey tasting experiences. A light swirl releases the drier oak notes that were well hidden under the fruit sweetness. An earthy funk is tied closely to the molasses note that I think sounds odd, but feels wholesome and welcoming when you experience it. Some light cinnamon stick and Christmas baking spices are coming through now., predominantly a gingerbread aroma. And suddenly, a wave of smooth vanilla. I love how this pour just keeps turning over a new leaf, or a similar leaf of a different color here and there. I could sit with this pour for hours. Slightly metallic, but nestled into the ever present gingerbread and molasses base that has formed now. A slight clove and allspice has also developed late in the glass. Anise forms well in the empty glass, very well hidden throughout the rest of the pour, but definitely a contributor to the overall feel. The empty glass also smells of spiced cherry (cinnamon), tons of gingerbread, and it reminds me of the little house that you put incense in to make smoke come out of the chimney, which is apparently either balsam fir or cedar. There is also a lovely undertone of vanilla that is just remarkable.
Palate: First sip is a subtle cherry build up into a slow, rumbling nuclear mushroom cloud of flavor. Wow. That cherry and cinnamon pop are everything I love about barrel proof bourbons in general. Oh my goodness that sweet floral molasses transfers so well to the palate. Sticky sweets are potent in all corners of my mouth - this has a really nice texture and feel to it. This tastes like the E.H. Taylor Single Barrel I have, but turned up to about 15. Such a rich, perfect caramel note that was the highlight of the beginning of the nose, with intensity building behind the cinnamon spice kick that tingles the tip of my tongue. Cherry continues to trickle down from there on a long wave across my mouth that moves at about the speed of mountains. Some slight tart grape flavors dart between the flavor wheel that continues to last impossibly long. A bit more simplistic and straightforward on the palate, there is less evolution of flavor change. This is probably for the best, because this pour is simply delicious. There is a slight numbing effect on this insides of my lips from the intensity of the proof, but my mouth and chest surely have no clue this is a barrel proof offering. The spicier side of things is showing up late in the glass with some nutmeg, coriander and ginger coating my gums. My last sip is a complete doozy. A big punchy sip of cardamom, leather, caramel, gingerbread and a cherry drizzle. I couldn't ask for much more out of this pour. There is a long linger of baked apples, white pepper and anise.
This might be my bourbon of the year for 2021... I may even have to do a head to head against my 2020 bourbon of the year. I'm thoroughly impressed and really debating going for a second glass tonight! Cheers.