Early Times

Early Times 2.jpg

When is a bourbon not a bourbon? And when is an armchair like a Boeing 757?

We’re all lucky enough, living in the USA and Canada, to know the regulations on Bourbon. I, personally, as a Canuck, envy the idea that your country has requirements to name something that.

And while I don’t 100% with all of them, I think the idea that you want standards on your Bourbon means that a better product comes out.

Unfortunately not everyone in the world agrees, so we have the issue: Early Times is a Bourbon in some places of the world, and not in the US, as it doesn’t hit all of the standards required.

So, we have a non-Bourbon. Since 2010, there has been a version of Early Times that is a bourbon, but this isn’t it. This is the one that has components that are aged in used barrels.

I can see why it isn’t labeled, but I wouldn’t judge it too harshly for that. I’ve enjoyed many whiskeys that use used barrels, so what’s one more?

Also we don’t get this up in Ontario, so my parents were nice enough to bring me a sample bottle. It’s forbidden fruit to me. I must have it.

Let’s see how it tastes, shall we?

Early Times 1.jpg

Price: N/A at the LCBO

Region: Kentucky

Abv: 40%

Colour: 5Y 8/8

Nose: Sweet tea, caramel, lots of vodka, ginger, wood

At first this is just really light and sweet. Luckily that’s replaced by the smell of raw alcohol and wood polish.

Wait, did I say luckily? I was wrong. Very wrong.

Taste: Peach drink, oak, butter, cola, wood shavings, watery

Again, initial light taste. Very watery. Reminds me of peach drink at a woodmill. Or chewing on a pencil but not really trying.

Time doesn’t help.

Finish: Dust, black pepper, wood, dry, basil

Finishes like falling into a wood pile tongue first.

It’s just dry and mostly flavourless. Has a lot of wood going on. Not fun.

Conclusion: I’m not really mincing words here: There’s better out there. This is barely aged enough to be whiskey, and it shows. It’s barely better than some whiskeys I’ve had, in that it has some wood flavour.



Bourbon review #114, Kentucky review #83, Whiskey Network review #707

1001 Whiskies You Must Taste Before You Die review #289

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