Colonel E.H. Taylor Small Batch Bourbon – Bottled In Bond Review

EH Taylor Small Batch Bottled in Bond Review
Colonel E.H. Taylor Jr. is made by that venerable distilling powerhouse known as Buffalo Trace and named after Colonel Edmund Haynes Taylor, Jr. who purchased the O.F.C (Old Fire Copper) distillery in 1869 and began distilling. He only owned the distillery for 9 years before it was bought in 1878 by George T. Stagg which is when the connection to Buffalo Trace becomes more apparent.

While owning the distillery he pioneered the use of new equipment and sour mash techniques that, at least to some degree, are still in use today. He was also one of the key men involved in getting the Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897 passed while he was serving as the Mayor of Frankfort, Ky which was a position he held for 16 years. To say he had a hand in the bourbon industry is a bit of an understatement and it’s easy to see why Buffalo Trace reached back through it’s roots to honor the man with this line.

Colonel E.H. Taylor Small Batch Bourbon – Bottled In Bond Review

ABV: 50% (BiB)
Age: at least 4 years
Price: $37
Distiller: Buffalo Trace

Light caramel

Caramel, vanilla and dusty corn are the dominant notes I pick up with hints of cinnamon, raw grains and a strange honey like note and an even stranger malty note show up. It’s not as deep or complex as I would have liked, but it’s hitting some good notes and sometimes that’s enough.

The dusty corn is much higher on the palate than it was on the nose and jumps ahead of the caramel and vanilla. The caramel comes across as watery and kind of seeps into the notes of spice, oak and raw grains. It is a bit astringent and I can’t say I’m overly wowed by it at this point, but it’s not terrible or horrifically flawed either.

Medium with raw dry corn dominating. Notes of vanilla, raw grains, oak spice and that strange malt like quality comes back again.

Everything lines up nicely, but it still feels about 1 degree off. Medium body that runs a bit hotter than I imagined it would have.

Because it’s Bottled-In-Bond I know it’s at least 4 years old, but it comes across as younger than that and there is something about it that just isn’t fully clicking for me. I don’t love it, but I also don’t dislike it either. Maybe it’s one that will grow on me if I drink it more. Either way it sounds like I need to grab a bottle and get to the bottom of this mystery one sip at a time.

SCORE: 83-86/100*


*Range given because this is a friend’s bottle and I did not try it in a controlled environment (we were playing Elder Sign & Catan at the time).

Josh Peters

Josh Peters

I read about, think about, write about, and drink whisk(e)y. In short, it's my passion.
Josh Peters

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28 Responses to Colonel E.H. Taylor Small Batch Bourbon – Bottled In Bond Review

  1. Never had the Small Batch, but the Single Barrel and especially the Rye are 2 of my favorites.

    You are right in thinking you need to sit down with EH Taylor with your own bottle, grab the Rye.

  2. Jason I tend to agree with you on most reviews but this is absurd. Taylor small batch is not that expensive and deserves a second chance with your mind on bourbon instead of games. Peace Love Bourbon!

  3. In tasting this for the first time, after buying it out of curiosity, the note on the nose that really bowled me over, after being in the glass for a bit, was apricot. Just miles of apricot, with a load of other things in there, but in the nose that was what was front and center.

    I like it pretty darned well, and like even better that it is something you can actually go out and buy… I might consider the single barrel at some point, but it’s a bit rich for my blood on cost.

    • Hey Nicholas,

      I’ve had 2 different single barrels and I’d honestly say stick with this one if you like it. The SiBs are good, but the price increase over this definitely hasn’t been worth it in any of the ones I’ve had so far.


  4. As I sit here trying Basil Hayden for the first time I look over to my half empty small batch Taylor and realize how much I enjoy this bottle! My cousin gave me the tip on the small batch and I will never go back. I currently am trying a bunch of bourbons under the 50$ range and have enjoyed all kinds. Any suggestions? I currently have gone through woodford, knob creek, bullet and basil haydens. I feel this score is low but what do I know, I just enjoy a great looking bottle, a cool story and high proof!


    • Hey Jac,

      If you haven’t had them I’d try the Russell’s Reserve 10, Russel’s Reserve Single Barrel, Maker’s Mark Cask Strength, Old Forrester Signature and Booker’s. Those might scratch that under 50 big-bang-for-your-buck itch for you.


  5. I’m on my second bottle and discovered that a drop of water really helps this one. Ice tends to kill the aroma. I smell almonds on the nose with a hint of black cherries. Definitely different from all the others I have tried. At $40 a 750, it will not become my go to, but I can see enjoying this one from time to time.

  6. I was excited to find this one at my local ABC yesterday. I had never seen it in the wild before! It was an impulse buy (I have already spent my bourbon budget for February) since my state apparently gets it once a year and it’s gone fast. They even had a one bottle limit. I’ll let you know what I think…

  7. As a rule I like Buffalo Trace Bourbon and once in a while Eagle Rare.However my treat bourbon every time is E H Taylor Small Batch and as time has time has passed
    it has gone from Treat to Very Favorite.Bold up front & very smooth for Bottled in Bond 100 proof flavor in finish is exceptional 5 star quality absolutely

  8. Josh, I’d love to read your revisited review on this SB.
    After several recommendations from my whiskey [sales] guy, I gave in. Glad I did.
    This is bright and summer-y. I guess it’s corn forward (which I usually don’t like) but the corn is very fleeting. It makes way for some juicy summer fruits like fresh plums. And the fruit hangs on nicely for a long finish.
    This is sweet, soft, and light. So easy to drink (although, I’ve found very few bourbons I didn’t find easy to drink! haha) for a BiB. I’m really enjoying this bottle. Great bourbon for under $50.
    *give it another try, Josh!

    • Cheers Amy, thanks for sharing. I did buy another bottle, but I already about about 200 open so I think I should kill a few off before I do. But when I do I”ll be sure to update!

  9. This one is on the top of my list of favorites. However, I’ve found that the air really opens up the “specialness” on this one. The first pour from the newly opened bottle is almost always disappointing. But then after a few days in the air, the flavor profile just opens up and starts delivering on all its promise. This is one that just begs to be decanted from the get go.

    I’d suggest opening the bottle, giving some notes from the first pour. Then wait a week and try again and see if it changes for you like it does for me.

  10. Josh, I have tremendous respect your reviews and opinions. This is the primary site I visit for reviews. I really enjoy coming here after Ive been into a bottle for a bit and see what you think. Every time, its like you’ve read my mind. Haven’t had to comment because you always nail it. Honestly, I’ve never been let down by one of your reviews.

    But you gotta revisit this one.

      • Josh I have to agree with some of the above comments on tbe SB. Give it some time to breathe and try it again. Mine has been open a couple of weeks now and the character has changed considerably.

  11. How’s it going Josh. I got myself a bottle of this bourbon and couldn’t handle the hot nature of it. It seems to have that signature buffalo trace flavor but seems kinda rough on the edges. I rushed to see what you had to say about this one and viola – similar thoughts from your side!

    Btw – I am still waiting for you to review the Rock Hill Farms and Elmer T Lee! Was hoping you’d get to it in 2017 but no pressure hahah~! Can’t believe how good Buffalo Trace is at making those fantastic bourbons.

    Happy holidays and cheers.

    • Happy Holidays Amit! I have bottles of both of those, but I already have so many open (I know, poor me right?) I’m trying to clear my back-log of tastings, samples and kill some open bottles before opening anything new. Maybe 2018!

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