This post sponsored by the Glencairn Whisky Glass

The Castle & Key Distillery is the new name for the Old Taylor Distillery in Woodford County. Kentucky. Even though Buffalo Trace owns the Old Taylor brand, the folks at Castle & Key Distillery still want to pay silent homage to Col. E.H. Taylor, Jr. When I cataloged the Taylor-Hay Papers at the Filson Historical Society, I found out that Taylor used only white corn to make his Bourbon. He also bragged that he used two and a half times more barley malt than any other distiller. Looking at grains purchased by Taylor at the O.F.C. Distillery, I estimated that his whiskey was about 65% white corn, 15% rye and 20% malted barley. When Castle & Key started making Bourbon, their mash bill was very similar to what I thought Taylor’s might have been. They use white corn and about 20% malted barley. The result is a Bourbon that is a little different from other Bourbons made by Kentucky’s major distillers. Matt and I tasted this first release of Castle & Key Bourbon and here are our notes.

Castle & Key Small Batch Bourbon

Proof: 98

Age: Four Years Old


  • Mike: Marshmallows and vanilla crème with a hint of fruit and oak.
  • Matt: Lots of caramel with cinnamon spice and brown sugar with a hint of oak.


  • Mike: Caramel and vanilla with peaches spiced with cinnamon and sweet oak wood. Tasted with a dried cranberry and notes of raspberry gives it the taste of peach-melba and vanilla ice cream. Tasted with a pecan and a note of chocolate and cinnamon are up front with sweet oak wood in the background.
  • Matt: Very floral with caramel and brown sugar with cinnamon spice and sweet oak wood. The dried cranberry brought out roses and raisin bran cereal. The pecan gave it a nice, chewy mouth-feel with flavors of brown sugar and dark fruits.


  • Mike: Long with sweet oak wood and cinnamon red hot candy. The dried cranberry added some lingering peach and raspberry fruit notes. The pecan made the finish very long, with oak wood and lingering chocolate notes.
  • Matt: Long and spicy with lots of cinnamon and sweet oak wood. The dried cranberry added some nut flavor to the finish – maybe peanut butter. The pecan added some notes of chocolate and dark fruit to the finish.

I would pair this Bourbon with a cigar that has rich notes of vanilla and chocolate in the smoke. I would reach for a My Father The Judge cigar.

Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller