E. H. Taylor, Jr. established the Old Taylor brand in 1887. He had established a new distilling company, E. H. Taylor, Jr. and Sons a few years before after leaving the O.F.C. distillery and fighting a legal battle with the firm Greggory and Stagg over the use of his name. The brand quickly became popular and the new company became a leader in the straight whiskey distilling industry. He promoted it heavily and changed the label early in the 20th century from a white label to a golden yellow label to make the bottles stand out more on the shelves behind the bar and in liquor stores. The label has remained relatively the same since that change.

During Prohibition, National Distillers acquired the brand and it quickly became one of the flagship brands for the company. After repeal, National acquired the Old Taylor Distillery and resumed production of their flagship Bourbon at the distillery that made it famous. It remained one of the four major brands for National Distillers for decades. The other three brands were Old Crow Bourbon, Mount Vernon Rye and Old Overholt Rye. National Distillers was sold to Jim Beam in 1987. This bottle is from that era when Jim Beam bottled the whiskey using existing barrels of Old Taylor from National Distillers.

Old Taylor Bourbon circa 1987

Proof: 80

Age: 6 Years Old

Nose: Caramel and fruit – apples and ripe pears, with a hint of baking spice and oak.

Taste: Caramel, ripe apples, a little black pepper spice and oak. When tasted with a dried cranberry, the ripe apple and caramel come forward and the pepper is reduced. When tasted with a pecan, a note of chocolate comes forward making it taste of a chocolate brownie with pecans.

Finish: Long with sweet oak, baking spices and a hint of chocolate. The cranberry made the finish shorter but added a little apple fruit to the finish. The pecan made the finish very long and dry with oak and chocolate.

I am pairing this Bourbon with an A. Fuente Reserva Don Carlos “Eye of the Shark” cigar. I find the smoke of this cigar to be earthy with lots of tobacco and hay, balanced by some cedar spice and vanilla. I think it will pair well with the Old Taylor. The smoke made the fruit flavors in the Bourbon ripe pear and the spice a cinnamon spice. The Bourbon made the smoke less earthy and sweeter with notes of dried apples and pears. It was a very good pairing.

Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller