E.H. Taylor, Jr. – Small Batch – Yachting with the Colonel
I don’t know what it is about cold weather and bourbon, but they go together like charcuterie and cheese. This day was particularly windy, more so than it was cold. A perfect day to taste bourbon. In all fairness, any day is a perfect day to taste bourbon; sweet, smooth, a little heat, caramel, pear, apple, and any other flavors charred American oak wants to give up.
I headed down to the ever popular Rino Yacht Club in The Source. Owners Mary and McClain were true to their Southern roots and were very hospitable. I wouldn’t expect anything less from a couple from Tennessee. When I asked them what brought them out to Denver (no, it wasn’t the cannabis craze), it was the emerging spirits scene. McClain and Mary opened up their little liquor store, The Proper Pour, a boutique liquor market focusing on sustainable, natural, and bio-dynamic products and their tiny bar in the heart of The Source, Rino Yacht Club, two years ago. They really want to take what they learned in the hospitality industry to build long term relationships with their customers and contribute to elevating their drinking experience. Let’s just say, mission accomplished.
I was looking for a great bourbon—one that I could drink neat, with a drop of water (distilled of course), on the rock or in a Manhattan. It’s my standard when tasting a new bourbon. I think when you taste it this way you can get all of the nuances a bourbon has to offer.
I bellied up to the bar (I’ve always wanted to say that!) and McClain introduced me to Colonel Edmund Haynes Taylor, Jr. You may not have heard of him, but you’ll want to thank him. Col. Taylor was the person responsible for bottled and bonded—which basically means that the bourbon is 100 proof and aged in a government-bonded warehouse. You may now be asking, “Why does it have to be in a government-bonded warehouse?” Think back to when bourbon was first coming around. There weren’t a lot of rules and regulations back in the 1800s when it came to who made what and what was on the label…which meant there was a lot of counterfeiting. Col. Taylor wanted to fix this so that when you bought a bottle of bourbon that was bottled and bonded, you knew that what was supposed to be in the bottle was actually in the bottle. (Would you want to buy a bottle of Pappy and have it filled with say…Jack Daniels? Me either.) Hmmm, pretty smart.
Thanks, Col. Taylor. So, in your honor, Buffalo Trace named a bourbon after you, E.H. Taylor, Jr.
Now that we have a little bit of history on this bourbon, let’s taste it!
There are a few types of E.H. Taylor available and McClain poured me their small batch bourbon, which is aged for seven years.
|E.H. Taylor – Small Batch – Aged 7 Years, 100% Proof|
|Neat||Think warm apple pie, a little bit of pear and of course, caramel. The heat was nicely balanced and the flavors were bright.|
|Drop of Water||A drop or two of distilled water really smoothed out the bite just a bit on this bourbon and accentuated the bright flavors.|
|On the Rock||Basically takes all of the bite out, still has a caramel nose.|
|Manhattan||Perfect in a Manhattan, it can stand up to the vermouth and bitters. A bit of earthy notes to it, which is typically found in a rye more than a bourbon.|
Of the three “bare” bourbon tastings, if truth be told, my favorite way to drink E.H. Taylor is with one drop of water. The drop of water really opens up the flavors in the bourbon and it still maintains good heat. When I tasted it with one ice cube, the bourbon just got lost. It was flat and a lot of the heat and flavor dissipated.
I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about the Manhattan. If you’ve read any of my previous articles you know that I’m a huge proponent of quality ingredients, especially when it comes to cocktails with only a couple of elements. Like the Manhattan, it only has three: whiskey, vermouth, and bitters—drop in a Luxardo and you’re good to go. But, not all Manhattans are made equal…trust me, I’ve done a lot of research on this!
McClain made a perfect Manhattan. Measured and stirred, not shaken (to each their own, but, I prefer mine stirred—it doesn’t get watered down and the balance of the cocktail remains in tact). McClain used a vermouth from Spain (Axta Rosso), a dash of bitters, and one tasty little cherried morsel. (I swear in my next life my name is going to be Luxardo…but then I may be writing about strippers and not bourbon.)
Overall, at $44 a bottle, I would easily purchase this bourbon. The quality and price ratio is exceptional. Anyone who likes bourbon would more than likely enjoy this bottle. It’s a good everyday bourbon, drank anyway you like. Personally, I’m either drinking mine with a drop of water or headed down to the Rino Yacht Club for a Manhattan.
Check out the hospitality of both the Proper Pour and the Rino Yacht Club, located in The Source at 3350 Brighton Blvd. Denver, CO. You can reach Mary or McClain there at 720-389-7905 or at their websites, http://theproperpour.com and http://rinoyachtclub.com