June 7, 2019
Buffalo Trace makes a lot of great whiskeys, such as the EH Taylor line of bourbons (and one rye whiskey). With multiple versions of Colonel E.H. Taylor whiskey (E.H. short for Edmund Haynes), I have the awesome opportunity to compare them side by side. In the first of this series, I’m comparing EH Taylor Small Batch, the “base” version, to EH Taylor Single Barrel, the more “premium” offering meant to highlight the individual traits of a barrel.
This is a great comparison because the Small Batch is just a blend of barrels that could have become Single Barrels, and they both have 50% alcohol. This lets me explore how barrel selection and blending impacts how a whiskey smells and tastes without differences in proof and more. Let’s get into this EH Taylor comparison.
The below table outlines key facts and figures for each bourbon.
How to Read the Chart
EH Taylor Small Batch is in blue, and the Single Barrel is in orange. The center of the circle indicates none of a trait. Further out the line indicates a stronger presence of that trait.
The scale (from inside to out):
Even though it’s no surprise that the Small Batch and Single barrel are similar, this EH Taylor comparison is still quite revealing. While both have that same vanilla frosted cinnamon roll scent with raisins, and quintessential bourbon flavors of honey, wood, bread, spice, and mint, the Small Batch is more pleasant and rich. With a little extra sweetness, wood, and overall fullness, as well as softer alcohol, the Small Batch stands out as the winner. It’s not a drastic difference, but still noticeable.
The fact that they’re similar also makes the Small Batch the winner by default. The single barrel is 50%+ more expensive yet isn’t as good. The Small Batch is also easier to find and more consistent since it’s a blend, not a single barrel. My Blanton’s Single Barrel comparison further highlights barrel variation. There probably are better barrels out there, I just have no way to tell without drinking it first, and it’s hard enough to find one as it is. You never know what you’re going to get.
It goes to show that spending more doesn’t necessarily result in better whiskey.