After a few months of rumors and leaks, Buffalo Trace Distillery has formally announced details on what could be its biggest whiskey release of 2020: Colonel E.H. Taylor 18 Year Marriage Bourbon. This extreme-aged E.H. Taylor bourbon isn’t just old—it’s something relatively unusual for the distillery: a cross-mashbill married whiskey.
A “mashbill” is another name for the grain recipe used to make whiskey; single malts, for instance, are made with a mashbill of 100 percent malted barley. Bourbon’s mashbill has to have at least 51 percent corn; American rye has to have a mashbill of at least 51 percent rye.
What’s special about this E. H. Taylor release, however, is that it uses barrels of whiskey containing all three of Buffalo Trace’s bourbon mashbills, including two rye recipes (a high rye and low rye) and the famous wheated recipe, which is most commonly associated with Weller and Van Winkle bourbons.
The barrels used for this whiskey do have one thing in common: They were all filled and laid down in 2002—nine full years before the first E. H. Taylor bourbon was ever released.
Even with great whiskey, marrying three different mashbills together is no easy task; like mixing paint, it’s much easier to get something ugly than something beautiful. But Buffalo Trace doesn’t make mistakes with the E. H. Taylor line—and the proof is in its countless awards.
Buffalo Trace is right to protect this name with only good whiskey considering its namesake Colonel Edmund Haynes Taylor, Jr., a founding father of the bourbon industry who had his hands in the Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897, as well as in the designing of the first climate-controlled aging warehouses.
We haven’t had a chance to taste this release yet, but provided tasting notes describe this bourbon as having “a nose of vanilla butter cake, a taste of caramel and cinnamon, and a finish of toasted oak, cinnamon, and a hint of spearmint.”
It goes without saying that this is going to be a nightmare to procure—Buffalo Trace did not immediately confirm, but it’s all but expected that this will be a one-time release—or at least a very rare one shared in very small supply.
That said, the suggested retail price is $70, so consider it a big win if you find this is a respectable liquor store when it goes on shelves in June. Let’s hope Colonel Taylor has a few more weddings planned in the future.
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