The Colonel Edmund Haynes Taylor, Jr. (E.H. Taylor) line from Buffalo Trace isn’t one I’ve had copious opportunities to try. Although I was fortunate enough to try samples of their Small Batch, Single Barrel, and Straight Rye earlier this year, actually finding a bottle (much less for MSRP) is so unrealistic in my area that it may as well be a pipedream. Last time I did find a bottle was at a local liquor store, which was asking $70 for the Small Batch. This is an unfortunately common, accurate representation of hunting down any Buffalo Trace product past the standard Buffalo Trace bottling.
Around the time that I tried those three core expressions, I felt that each were decidedly underwhelming with none giving me the impression that I was missing out on anything. Tastes can change, however, and I’ve seen my palate develop in a few ways over the past few months, so when the opportunity to snag another sample of E.H. Taylor Small Batch presented itself, I decided “why not?” Let’s get into it:
Nose: Sweet, soft vanilla-drenched corn, cherry, and orange. Caramel, buttercream, and strawberries. Like a cornbread dessert. Can smell the crop, grain, and/or cereal-like notes, but it doesn’t come across as young. I’m guessing 4-6 years old.
Palate: Thin to medium mouthfeel. Big dessert flavor upfront to include vanilla, corn, caramel, and buttery frosting. Mid-palate has some oak and grain influence offset by brown sugar, with everything combining on the back-palate, though definitely leaning towards brown sugar, oak, and somewhat dried cherries.
Finish: Starts off tannic and a bit bitter, but eventually sweetens, transitioning to a nice warm oak, caramel, and cherry pie with a little brown sugar. The flavor isn’t big, but it sticks around and has enough influence to leave a nice, lasting impression.
Go figure. My thoughts on this particular expression remain mostly unchanged. I certainly enjoy it, but wouldn’t say it does anything to impress me beyond its borderline dessert-like sweetness. Design and packaging certainly play a hand in selling in selling a brand, but with this core Buffalo Trace expression, I’m left doing what I do with many others that are a struggle to obtain: Scratching my head. The appeal is understandable, no doubt, but the trickle-down obsession and allocation? Not in the least.
Obtaining a bottle of E.H. Taylor Small Batch isn’t impossible, but like most Buffalo Trace expressions (depending on where you live), the hunt and subsequent price tag don’t justify the product. If you live in an area where this particular expression sells for MSRP, then I’d jump on it if you haven’t already. Otherwise? I’d look at some craft distilleries. The price of entry will be similar, the pour quality won’t be far from what the old Colonel offers, and availability will ironically be much better.