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Colonel E. H. Taylor is a famous figure in bourbon history for having been a zealous promoter of high standards and truth-in-advertising within the industry. The reviewed sample was bottled no later than 1977, and possibly 10 or 20 years earlier than that date. This sample was distilled at the original distillery which had been owned by Col. Taylor
The Taylor brand has been owned by the Sazerac Company, with its Buffalo Trace distillery, since 2009. The current Old Taylor bourbon is sold at 40% abv, which is a bit ironic, since Col. Taylor is most famous for promoting the 50% abv Bottled-in-Bond standard for US straight whiskey. Currently there is also the Sazerac Company-owned "Col. E. H. Taylor" brand, which is used for the release of premium products.
Nose: mild intensity of caramel, oakwood, spice from rye grain, and a little honey; this is not a very demonstrative nose. There is nothing objectionable here, but it doesn't make a strong impression
Taste: the nose flavours actually translate well here, albeit amped up a good bit, which is a good thing. The oak flavours are a bit tannic for my taste, and the char seems strongly tastable here. There is a lot of bass-pitched wood flavour here, e.g. containing char, hickory flavour, and black licorice, mixed with a taste of honey
Finish: this gathers bitterness and sourness into the finish, too much so
Balance: heavy char, heavy tannins, bitterness, and strong sourness, are all undesirable features in bourbon for me. It is hard to tell what this 40 year old mini would have tasted like brand new. What I have in front of me is not a style of bourbon I like. I've never sampled the 40% abv current Old Taylor bourbon, and would be suspicious of its merits, because I almost never like bourbon bottled below 45% abv. That said, I've liked all of the Col. E. H. Taylor premium products which I have tasted