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Colonel E. H. Taylor Col. E. H. Taylor Sour Mash BIB

Weird and Wonderful Random Organisms

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@VictorReview by @Victor

18th Aug 2016


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Colonel E. H. Taylor Sour Mash was released in 2011 and was the very first release in the modern series of Col. E. H. Taylor named whiskeys

Nearly 100% of US whiskey is made using a "sour mash" process involving using approximately 20-25% prior batch mash to new "sweet" mash, for the purpose of ph control. This E.H.Taylor Sour Mash was not made in this same conventional way, but, rather, attempted to duplicate a century old type of technique in which the mash is left out for several days to be exposed to ambient air micro-organisms, which naturally acidify the mash. The distillers at Buffalo Trace were not sure this would work to make tasty whiskey, but in this case it did. As a bottled in bond whiskey with no age statement, this whiskey can be assumed to be four years old

The reviewed bottle is owned by my sister, and I have been sampling from it repeatedly over the five years which the bottle has been open

Nose: gentle floral perfume accompanies vanilla and natural caramel. Interestingly there is pervasive ROOT BEER flavour in evidence. There is also lemon-lime citrus, which is somewhat unusual in bourbon. The pitches are mostly high and middle-pitched in range. This is lovely and elegant. Water added makes the floral perfume stronger, and the wood, citrus, and root beer flavours weaker. Score: 22.5/25

Taste: lovely translation of the nose flavours to the mouth, with a strong sweet-and-sour theme. Water added bundles the flavours together and slightly emphasises the sour component. Score: 23/25

Finish: long finish with the sweet eventually yielding to the sour. Water added gives a long bundled-flavour finish, with plenty of root beer. Score: 22/25

Balance: very good balance in the nose and on the palate; good balance on the finish. Score 22/25

Total Sequential Score: 89.5 points

Strength: strong flavours throughout. Score: 22.5/25

Quality: very good quality of all of the component flavours. Score: 22/25

Variety: very good variety of flavours, with some unusual ones thrown in. Score: 22/25

Harmony: very good harmony in the nose and on palatal delivery, good harmony on the finish. Score: 22/25

Total Non-Sequential Score: 88.5 points

Comment: this "natural sour mash" is SO INTERESTING! I hope that Buffalo Trace releases another batch in this style so that all of you out there who have not had a chance to taste this very unusual style of bourbon whiskey get a chance to do so

Related Colonel E. H. Taylor reviews


Victor commented

Charles Cowdery reports on his blog that this very first release of the new Colonel E. H. Taylor Jr. brand, Col. E. H. Taylor Jr. Sour Mash, is 9 years old.

6 years ago 0

maltmate302 commented

Very good and interesting review @Victor. I was aware that some Belgian beer producers brewed in this manner but I had no idea that whiskey had been made in this way. You've got to admire all the innovations that have been pioneered by Buffalo Trace distillery, they seem to be light years ahead of the competition in trying out these different techniques.

6 years ago 0

Robert99 commented

@Victor Very informative review, great job. This is the kind of attention and dedication that made me say that the Americans will probably rock the world of whiskies in the coming years. For me, their approach is to think that you don't charge a price for a whisk(e)y because you think you deserve it, you charge a price because you earned it through hard work and dedication. It doesn't hurt either if you are more creative at the same time.

6 years ago 0

Victor commented

@Robert99, The irony is that whisky/whiskey did not really become popular in most of the US until the last 10-15 years. In recent years 750+ new microdistilleries have popped up in the US, and they currently continue to increase in number at the rate of 10-20 per month. A shake out has to occur at some point. But, despite that, I am really curious to see how many of these new American distilleries are going to produce malt whiskies, a category which was virtually unknown in the US until recently. Quite a few of these new distilleries do and will distill barley malt, I believe. There are some legal/regulatory hurdles to overcome in the US on commercial nomenclature and requirements of malt whiskies. Eventually that will be ironed out. What excites me the most about US malts is the possibility of lots of clean-of-sulphur US wine casks being used for the finishes and maturations of the malt whiskies. The US doesn't have those destructive rules limiting transport and storage of full wine casks, as does Spain.

Lots of people, including lots of Connosr members, can not smell or taste sulphur. Those individuals do not even know the difference. For those of us who do taste and smell sulphur, sulphur is completely ruinous to whisky.

US rye whiskey has become such a familiar topic in the last 5 years that it is amazing to remember that 10 years ago it was rare even in the US to find more than 1 or 2 or 3 very basic brands represented in the liquor stores. There are probably 300 US microdistilleries currently distilling rye whiskey, compared to a small handful of large ones 15+ years ago--Beam, Wild Turkey, Heaven Hill, Barton, Medley, Seagram's (and its successors), and Buffalo Trace.

6 years ago 0

Robert99 commented

@Victor When I was in 9 grade in Biology class we made a genetic test. The test was very simple, it consists in putti ng a strip of paper on the tongue. A third of the class as the privilege to taste something bitter and awfull. I was among those lucky ones. I don't know if it was sulfur, but I remember I used to hate boiled eggs because of that sulphur smell. Now I am not as sensitive as I used to be about sulphur, I became sulphur tolerant which doesn't mean I don't taste it but simply that I learn to live with it.

Saying that, I look forward to taste more clean whiskey. Whith time, I am convince the American distillery interest for barley malt will grow and with the good old capiltalistic competition that should bring us good stuff at the right price. Of course there will be a shake out, and the number of new products may not be as glorious as I dream it will be, but the best will survive for our pleasure. As a whisky/whiskey fan, dreaming is part of my hobby. I dream about the best dram I will drink one day and I dream about a new gold age of whisky. In my dream, part of this new age will occur in North America and it happen to be that I am a North American. I really like this dream! Cheers!

6 years ago 1Who liked this?

Victor commented

Fall 2021 Whisky Advocate reports that a bottle of this sold for $ 16,964 at auction on March 28, 2021. My sister still has about 1/3 bottle of this open in her house. That is $ 1,000 per 45 ml shot.

about one year ago 1Who liked this?

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