Edmund H. Taylor Jr. was an important figure in American whiskey history. He was a motivating force in the Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897. He worked hard to separate the straight whiskey distillers from the rectifiers who were more than often selling what we would call a blended whiskey today. The rectifiers were making it hard to sell straight whiskey for a profit because there was an ignorance in the consumer population as to why straight whiskey cost more than rectified whiskey. The Bottled-in-Bond Act was the first step in educating the public on straight whiskey and it is often considered a precursor to the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906.
Taylor believed in making quality whiskey even if it cost more to do so. He was well known for his Old Taylor bourbon but also made rye and corn whiskeys for customers. He was innovative in packaging and a pioneer in marketing whiskey. He created his bright gold label for his bottled whiskey to make it stand out on a shelf with other brands. There is a legend that says he would have salesmen place empty bottles in the trash heap behind the best taverns to make people think his whiskey is what sold best in these quality bars. His theory was that if the person drank it once they would want to drink it again. The quality made it worth the price.
Buffalo Trace Distillery has been producing a series of whiskeys with the Col. Taylor name on them to honor the founder of the OFC Distillery that is now Buffalo Trace. This rye whiskey is just one of that series.
Nose: Caramel and Vanilla with citrus and spice.
Taste: Caramel and citrus fruit with a bit of rye grassy flavor. Baking spices and pepper enter the play after the grassy flavor leaves the field. With a dried cranberry the grassy flavor moves forward and the citrus is gone. The baking spices really become pronounced. With a pecan the grassy flavor almost disappears and more oak comes forward.
Finish: Dry oak and baking spices, mostly cinnamon, that last a long time. The dried cranberry makes this a very spicy finish. With a pecan the spice becomes drier oak flavor and a bit shorter.
Notes: This is a fitting tribute to Col. Taylor. It is a very good rye whiskey. I highly recommend this whiskey to fans of rye whiskey.
Photos Courtesy of Michael Veach