Sunday, January 26, 2020

Colonel E.H. Taylor Barrel Proof Straight Kentucky Bourbon - 129.3 Proof

VITALS:
- $70
- 129.3 Proof
- NAS
- Kentucky

This is a second go round for me. The last time I had a bottle of Col. E.H. Taylor Barrel Proof was three and a half years ago. At that time, the Barrel Proof wasn't as hard to find, nor as sought after, as it is these days. Looking back at that review, I liked it but didn't find it to be "great."

And yet, going forward from 2016, this has become a very sought after bourbon. It no longer sits on the shelf next to the small batch or the single barrel (which itself has become hard to find on shelves). It is also commanding double MSRP or more on the secondary market. So, when the chance came to get another bottle at retail, I figured it was about time I re-visited this one. Perhaps I missed something the first time around, or perhaps I just didn't appreciate what I had.

The nose on this one was really great, full of classic bourbon character. It had a lot of cinnamon and vanilla, giving it a very sweet and spicy profile that had me immediately salivating. I did at times get a bit of a hay note, but it reminded me more of a spice cabinet than a barn, if that makes any sense. I also seemed to get milk chocolate notes at times, but don't get me wrong, this was 95% vanilla and cinnamon with a few other notes mixed in.

Not sure what I didn't find so great about the previous bottle, but this bottle I did find to be great! This is very caramel forward, offering a sweet and rich flavor. It was buttery in texture and in taste, and it just reminded me of rich, creamy, really good caramel.

That sweetness was not in any sense overbearing. In fact, the cinnamon on the nose came through very well on the palate as well, offering a nice amount of spice to balance out the sweet notes. The sweet and spicy profile made it really hard for me to reach for other bottles while this one was sitting on my shelf.

There were also other great notes that all added to the deliciousness of this bourbon. There were fruity notes, reminding me of maraschino cherries, as well as a bit of bright bitterness that I likened to orange pith. Even that hay note from the nose seemed to materialize in the flavor as a sort of crackery flavor, like a buttery Ritz cracker.

All in all, this was an absolutely delicious whiskey, offering nearly everything I love in a bourbon, and providing a complexity mixed with balance that is hard to find. It's a shame this has gotten so hard to find, because I won't hesitate to grab more bottles should the opportunity ever present itself.

Grade: A

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