Whisky Advocate

Review: E. H. Taylor Jr. Single Barrel

November 3rd, 2011

E. H. Taylor Jr. Single Barrel, 50%, $60

The second release in the new Taylor line by Buffalo Trace, and the first single barrel offering. Similar in personality to the first release (a small batch offering), but a shade darker in color, flavor, and personality. A bit more intense, too, with more mouthfeel, and not as demure. A fair trade-off. Starts off sweet (rummy, burnt dark fruit, fig cake) then becomes dry, with dried spice, tobacco, toasted oak, and leather. Very exciting and distinctive.

Advanced Whisky Advocate magazine rating: 88

17 Responses to “Review: E. H. Taylor Jr. Single Barrel”

  1. Mary says:

    Do you know which barrel you have? I have found significant differences in single barrel offerings…& it seems that reviewers get the “best” barrel to write reviews about. No disrespect intended toward you – It just makes me cautious.

    • John Hansell says:

      There is no barrel number and this was the response I received today from my contact at the distillery:

      “I wanted to reply back to a comment a reader posted asking you which barrel you have, and that reviewers typically get the “best” barrels. I can assure you that you guys get the same whiskey that everyone else gets. We we believe all of our barrels are the best ones! We pride ourselves on our consistency, so we feel no need to put the “best” out for anyone to review.”

      And I belive them.

      • Mary says:

        Yes, the public is probably buying from that same barrel that has been sent to reviewers but from my own experience the nature of the single barrel bottling can vary a lot (and any smart distillery would make sure they are giving reviewers a good one – even if they claim ALL are good). If it’s a small single barrel batch, it’s easier to make sure every barrel is good. But, if it’s a regular offering from a distillery that is selling LOTS of that SB whiskey – they are not tasting every barrel (I heard this at more than 1 distillery – I asked the question).

        Here is my most recent bad experience (NOT Buffalo Trace): I had enjoyed at least 2 bottles of a particular brand of single barrel whiskey, then bought another & it was not even drinkable – airplane glue, nasty smell, horrid taste – just awful! I politely emailed the brand, asking how this may have happened, etc (I’m a whiskey geek so am interested in the how/why of whiskey). Did NOT ask for money back, was not grumpy – I just wanted them to know they had a very bad bottling out there (I want US distilleries to succeed!) – I’m sure I was not the only person to experience an awful bottle/barrel. They never even acknowledged receiving the email – not even a canned response. The distiller was NOT Buffalo Trace but since then, I am cautious about buying single barrel – I’ll buy 1 bottle (if I’m really interested), taste it right away & if I like it, then I go quick & buy another or more of the same bottling batch – so far it is working out. I would probably not buy a SB bottling if it did not have the barrel # on it.

        Off Topic: Buffalo Trace had the best tour of all the distilleries (the “Hard Hat” tour). The guide was knowledgeable & the tour isn’t all sanitized/behind glass – you get to go in to the real working areas of the distillery. I would visit again.

  2. Scott says:

    Desert-Island question for John: You’ve got the choice of the Taylor Single Barrel or any of the 2011 Antique Collection. Which specialty BT bottle do you choose?

    • John Hansell says:

      I would pick one of the Antique Collection whiskeys, and I think my reviews of them earlier this week demonstrates this.

      • Scott says:

        Thanks – Really just wondering if there were intangibles beyond what’s reflected in the scores that speak to your enjoyment of any of these. Personally, the whisky I might give the highest score to isn’t necessarily the whisky I’d want with me if stranded on a desert island!

  3. patrick says:

    Of note, the first release was a small batch release and it contained whiskey from the old distillery. The single barrel is a whiskey produced at Buffalo trace using the receipe that they purchased. Same brand name, but products of different distilleries (as I was told last month by their master blender).

  4. howardf says:

    What’s the distribution area for these? I’m in Indiana, and I’ve never seen either version.

  5. John Parker says:

    I bought a bottle of this and was very disappointed. I thought it was harsh and was not smooth at all.

    • Red_Arremer says:

      Not to discount the integrity of your assessment, John, but did you try adding water?

    • John Hansell says:

      I don’t think I ever mentioned “smooth” in my tasting notes, John. I think of this as a fun, dynamic whiskey, but not necessarily a smooth whiskey. If you want smooth, try a wheated bourbon like Maker’s Mark or W. L. Weller.

  6. John Parker says:

    Thanks John, I am a huge WLW Antique fan, best bourbon in the world to me. Red, I will try water to smooth it out.

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