Taylor Barrel Proof... Which of the latest batches is the best? That is the burning question in my mind tonight, so I had @amongstthefernsco set me up a blind sample flight of batch 9, 10 and 11. My taste of Batch 9 comes from a sample that my good friend Mark graciously provided me with. I purchased and recently freshly opened both batch 10 and 11. They were blinded for me, but for sake of clarity I will reveal which glass is which below. Let's jump in!
Company on Label: Old Fashioned Copper (Buffalo Trace)
Whiskey Type: Bourbon
Mash Bill Percentages: Buffalo Trace Mash Bill #1 (Low Rye < 10%)
Batch 9: 130.3°
Batch 10: 127.3°
Batch 11: 129.0°
Age: NAS (supposedly 6-8 years)
Further identification: Batch 9 is the 2020 release, Batch 10 comes from 2021, and Batch 11 just released in 2022; see my latest post on Batch 11 for a helpful identification list
Batch 11: On the nose plenty of butterscotch, caramel and oak. It feels decadent and dessert-like with oodles of vanilla, brown sugar and charred effervescence. Bright linen tones give this the illusion of age. Cinnamon tones meld softly. Jumping into a sip of this glass shows off dark cherry skins, plum, apricot, nutmeg and cacao. It comes across with just a kiss of heat that makes your chest shudder slightly. Not bad at all with anise, black tea and prevalent oak. I get really unique Christmas Tree Shop vibes from this glass that are interesting, but I wouldn't say this is my favorite profile. Finishing off the glass I'd put this at a solid 4/5 for me.
Batch 9: Smelling this glass produces the same notes of caramel and oak, though much more muted. Definitely the most lacking of the three noses. There's something savory like sea salt and vinegar chips in there too. Sipping this I find lovely stone fruit up front. Candied cherry, strawberry and all the typical sweetness you'd expect out of the Colonel Taylor brand. I'm incredibly surprised by the dichotomy between the nose and palate here. The mouth feel is thick, coating, flavorful and lingering which is everything I look for in a bourbon. It's bold and inviting. Just beautiful. 5/5 stuff.
Batch 10: The brightest and fruitiest of the three glasses on the nose. It's dusty for days and very reminiscent of the experience of being in a rick house. Lovely fruit, age, heft and overall complexity. This is an exemplary bourbon nose. Vanilla layers in well as a creamy dessert profile. Tasting this glass shows me subtle fruit, mint and bready tones. It has intriguing layers. Cacophonous and savory; I am loving the salted meat characteristic hiding out in here. This flavor profile used to be one of my favorites (think Booker's Country Ham), but for someone who has evolved through every phase of barrel strength, I think I tend to prefer sweeter tones today. I'd peg this one at a high 4/5 for me tonight.
Ranking: Batch 9 > Batch 10 > Batch 11
I'm glad I dove in on this blind tonight. Damn am I disappointed that the least accessible one happens to be my favorite! I am also surprised I have a different rating for batch 10 as I had when I reviewed it un-blinded last year. I think this has more to do with my palate and personal preference changing some towards more sweeter profiles rather than just in-your-face proof which was more of my jam last year. Hope this ranking helps you in some way. Cheers!