Yup, I bought a bottle and opened it. I’m as rare as a technicolour unicorn who prefers the Middle East.
But why is that? Is it because I type this with my hooves and my horn, like areas that have slid into repressive regimes due to a myriad of reasons, too numerous to discuss here, and was born by starlight? No, it’s due to the limited release of Colonel E.H. Taylor Jr. Seasoned Wood.
Rumoured to be even more limited of a release than Cured Oak, it’s sometimes father, this is a different take. Where as Cured Oak was 17 years old, while this one is over 10 years old. This wheated bourbon also went through a stave curing process.
I could try to put a funny spin on it, but it’s better to say it this way:
the barrels in this release underwent a variety of special seasoning processes, including barrels made from staves that were immersed in an enzyme rich bath with water heated to 100 degrees. After spending time in this proprietary solution, these staves were then placed into kilns and dried until they reached an ideal humidity level for crafting into barrels. Other staves were seasoned outdoors for six months, and still others were left outdoors for a full 12 months before being made into barrels and sent to Buffalo Trace Distillery to be filled and aged. All barrel staves were seasoned, dried, and crafted at Independent Stave Company, who consulted on this project with the premiere expert on oak maturation, Dr. James Swan.
How was I going to type that with a horn?
Well holy damn, they went whole hog on the curing on this one. I’m lucky if I pass science class and start a fire when needed, and these guys are combining different versions of staves into one cask and combining it all into a special release that’s like an old one but different.
Maybe they are the technicolour unicorn of legend. Or maybe that’s rhinos and we should stop killing all the unicorns out there to eat because of made up bullshit that isn’t grounded in science!
Got a little off track there. Save the Rhinos. Got it. What’s the whiskey taste like? Oh, yeah, I should get to that?
Let’s… yeah, you get it.
Price: N/A at the LCBO
Colour: 10YR 7/8
Nose: Peanut butter, oak, rosemary, mint, papaya, violets, graham cracker
Dry notes, lots of different sweet, herbal flavours, and…. floral?
No, no, no, that’s just me not being silly and not cleaning my glass after a robust Lowland. No, it’s a really nice flavour that I’m not used to in Bourbon. Nice.
Taste: Mint, oak, banana, pineapple, buttered toast, candied yams
Fruity, some butter, and still pretty dry. Eventually a very sweet, earthy flavour pops up.
Nice to sip on. I’m reaching for more and not really finding it though. I guess it’s too young? Or maybe I’m unfairly comparing this to Cured Oak. I say unfair because while the ridiculous pricing isn’t the fault of the makers, it does “level” the two of them against once another.
Finish: Oak, mango, herbal/grassy, faint grapefruit, yeast
Finish is really short and faint. Hard to pick up much, of anything. Eventually there’s a big yeast flavour here.
Why do I type year when I type yeast? Man, I need to start making bread again. This year.
I don’t even know what I’m typing anymore. My hooves are killing me.
Conclusion: I can say this: It’s a nice dram. And like the Cured Oak before it, the drying ends up being an interesting step.
And in this case, more drying has lead to a more interesting nose. That said, I think drying can only go so far, especially with a wheater.
The taste is nice, and the nose is great. The finish? Rough. Needs more time. Needs much, much more to do something.
At the end of the day, if I could only buy this at the overblown secondary, I wouldn’t buy it. However for the price I paid? Hells yeah. It’s a tasty, unique dram. It goes beyond it’s uniqueness and has a decent balance (barring the finish).
Bourbon review #143, Kentucky review #100, Whiskey Network review #799