Monday, March 7, 2011

Buffalo Traces Mashes the Col. Taylor Way

So, here's the story. There was this gentleman named Colonel Edmund Haynes Taylor, Jr., a Bourbon pioneer and great-nephew of President Zachary Taylor who, says Buffalo Trace,  was "the man who introduced the first climate controlled aging warehouses, used a patented sour mash technique, and fought for the Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897 will have a line of premium whiskeys bearing his name."

It's that middle thing we're paying attention to here. With most Bourbons, the sour mash method is to take a bit of mash from the previous batch of whiskey, toss it in the new batch, and let the fermentation get busy. But Taylor had his own ways. According to Buffalo Trace, he would not use sour mash from the previous mix, but would give the new mash ample time to sour itself. The new release was distilled in 2002 and then aged for nine years, and bottled at 100 proof.

The whiskey has a pleasant, powerful, somewhat gamey aroma, plenty of citrus and slight floral notes, but also lots of bread-like qualities. It smells fat even before you drink it. The taste too, is big and round. It's not a delicate whiskey, but fullsome and big-hearted; meaty, yeasty and chewy with lots of orange and butterscotch and toffee. Water quiets down this character. I almost like this one better without a little water. I don't know if I would have noticed the different souring method without having been told upfront. But I would have noted the robust personality.

The Old Fashioned Sour Mash Bourbon is the first of several new E.H. Taylor, Jr. whiskeys to be released over the next few years. "All of the Taylor whiskeys will be distinctive. Most will be very limited," said Kris Comstock, brand manager. Each offering will showcase a vintage label and canister, reminiscent of Taylor’s bottles nearly one hundred years ago. "We designed the current bottle to replicate antique bottles made by Taylor back in 1913," added Comstock. $70 is the price. 

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