E.H. Taylor Cured Oak, 17 yo

E.H.Taylor Cured Oak, 17 yo
Here is another bourbon from Buffalo Trace’s E.H. Taylor line. In my review on Wednesday of the Small Batch release in the line, and in the comments posted later, I made some observations about aspects of the history of the man whose name is on this series, Col. E.H. Taylor. I’d thought that I’d expand on and clarify some of those thoughts a little more in the introduction to this review but I think I’m actually going to put that in a separate post later today or this weekend. So if you’re interested in that please come back then.

For now here is a review of the 17 yo E.H. Taylor Cured Oak. It is so called because the staves used for the barrels in which it is matured are cured for much longer than the usual period; this is said by the distillery to result in richer oak flavours. With my sensitivity to overbearing oak, this is not very encouraging, and nor is Sku’s review, which stresses the oak. Well, let’s see what it’s like.  

E.H. Taylor Cured Oak 17 yo (50%; Bottled in Bond; from a sample received in a swap)

Nose: Sweet notes of caramel, corn, light maple syrup and cherry. On the second sniff there’s some toffee and oak as well. Really lovely first impression. The oak expands as it sits (not overbearing but it makes me a little worried about the palate); spicier too with some nutmeg and cinnamon. Water emphasizes the sweet notes and makes the wood a little perfumed (think talcum powder).

Palate: Sweet arrival on the palate and then the wood starts showing up. On the second sip the wood is bone dry; it’s hard to find much else. It’s not astringent though and I’m surprised by how much I like it. Gets sweeter as it goes with the cherry from the nose. Water makes it astringent, unfortunately, and quite bitter.

Finish: Long; the dry wood keeps going for a while, picking up menthol and cinnamon and clove as it goes. As on the palate with water.

Comments: Okay, this is a first for me: a very oaky bourbon that I really enjoyed on the palate. This is because the wood notes were not astringent ones of the kind that I often find in over-oaked bourbon; instead this was woody almost in the way that sherry matured whisky from European oak can be woody. Is that a function of whatever process they ran on the oak? Or more likely, am I crazy? Anyway, I really liked this one. The only problem with it is that there’s not much else happening on the palate or finish other than the oak; still, the palate and finish don’t subtract anything from the lovely nose. If you have an unopened bottle, hold the water.

Rating: 87 points.

Thanks to Sku for the sample.

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