E.H. TAYLOR BARREL PROOF V.S. ELIJAH CRAIG BARREL PROOF SIDE-BY-SIDE
So after an incredibly way too long of an hiatus, I have decided to try and get back to doing reviews. Mainly through the encouragement of my beautiful wife and a couple other special people who have been encouraging me to keep at this. Not sure what direction I will be going with this and for how long, but this is by for a more enjoyable and productive way to spend my time. So cheers y’all.
DISTILLER: BUFFALO TRACE
AGE: 6-8 YEARS
Named after Colonel Edmund Haynes. Taylor, Jr – Creator of Old Taylor Bourbon one of the pioneers of the Bottled-in Bond Act. Initial owner of OFC (Old Fashioned Wood-Fired Copper Stills) Distillery before selling to George T. Stagg.
NOSE: Opens with the bitter sweet citrus of orange marmalade, warm cinnamon, sugar frosting and rounded out by the floral woodiness of rosemary and cool, yet sharp, menthol.
PALATE: Upfront toffee bomb, mild chocolate, dusty oak and water reveals some floral and poached pears notes.
FINISH: Leather, Slight Oak tannin and black pepper.
MOUTH-FEEL: Buttery and not very heavy or cloying which actually works given the flavors on the palate. At the very end though, I get a sensation that reminds me of eating pop rocks.
Overall a very nice bourbon and very approachable for a barrel proof entry. With that being said; it is not a great bourbon and probably would not be something that I would necessarily look to buy for my own collection. While there is no doubt that Buffalo Trace is running the game when it comes to bourbon right now; the overall lightness and lack of complexity, doesn’t earn this bottling the borderline unicorn status or price tag that it currently has.
DISTILLER: HEAVEN HILL
AGE: 12 YEARS
Named after Rev. Elijah Craig, a Baptist Preacher whom is thought to be “The Father of Bourbon” according to the lore of your local marketing firm. ECBP is aged 12 years and is non-chilled filtered.
NOSE: After a blast of alcohol you get rich brown sugar, dark chocolate and ripe red plums.
PALATE: Decadent Caramel, roasted coffee, rainier cherries, tobacco, cinnamon and clove.
FINISH: The alcohol and tannin suck any moisture from your mouth and leaves a dry finish with hints of orange rind and mint. Now to some that may seem like an unpleasant finish; but honestly, that was exactly what I was looking for in this.
MOUTH-FEEL: Wonderfully rich and heavy, coating your entire palate in a way you hope never ends.
Overall, this is everything that a barrel strength bourbon should be. Incredible rich complexity that was a perfect balance of earthy sweetness. Nowhere near as approachable as E.H. Taylor might be for someone who is new to barrel proof whiskey, but it hits the spot. This is something that could easily be sipped all night next to a fire on a cool, damp fall evening.
Verdict: Elijah Craig. While I think E.H. Taylor could benefit from another year or two in the barrel and even then, it has some catching up to do. With that being said, Elijah Craig doesn’t have much room to grow behind this. Elijah is a very full, robust bourbon and age beyond the 12-year mark tends to muddy flavors. Nevertheless, this is a must try whiskey that sets the bar for barrel proof juice in the bourbon game.