There’s a fascinating story behind the latest limited edition from Buffalo Trace’s Col. E. H. Taylor, Jr. Collection. It starts with a tornado and ends up with a very unusual bourbon — unusual, even in a family of bourbons that have unique qualities. The story goes a little something like this:
It was a Sunday evening, April 2, 2006, when a severe storm tore through Central Kentucky, damaging two Buffalo Trace Distillery aging warehouses. Fortunately, no one was injured and Warehouse “B” was empty at the time. However, Warehouse “C” sustained significant damage to its roof and north brick wall. Warehouse “C” is one of the most treasured warehouses on property, built by Colonel Edmund Haynes Taylor, Jr. in 1881.
Throughout the strong storm that raged across the Distillery, the bourbon barrels stood strong, never budging from their resting spots. Patiently they waited while the roof and wall repairs took place that summer. The barrels sat exposed to the central Kentucky climate for months as the sun and wind took their toll.
Finally in late 2011, those same barrels were tasted and the bourbon was married into a single batch dubbed “Warehouse C Tornado Surviving Bourbon.”
This is how they describe the flavors: All of the 93 Tornado Surviving Bourbon barrels were located on the top two floors of Warehouse C, and were at least 9 years, 8 months old when dumped; many of them were as old as 11 years, 11 months old. Like the previous two E. H. Taylor, Jr. releases, the Tornado Surviving Bourbon is “Bottled in Bond” at 100 proof.
This Rye Mash #1 recipe bourbon has the aroma of dried fig and cloves that jump from the glass initially along with plenty of baking spice. An oaky dryness provides balance, which quickly builds the anticipation for a taste. A small sip fills the mouth with jam-like cooked fruit, vanilla, and a touch of smoke. The finish quickly builds in dark spices until the end as hints of tobacco leave you with the final impressions of this bourbon.
During the summer of 2006 the sun and weather inevitably contributed to increased evaporation, wood interaction and rich flavors in this bourbon whiskey. The angel’s share amounted to an astonishingly high 63.9% loss.
Typically bourbons at this age from upper floors will have a woody flavor due to the higher temperatures. These Tornado Surviving barrels are well rounded and quite tasty.
Here’s what I experienced: I would say that I noticed a little fresher nose than dried fig, less sweet and some green notes, like fig leaf. It has light aromas, not smoky.
Then, when you sip it, the flavorful is powerful! It’s spicy on the tip of the tongue and has a good amount of bite. I noticed some vanilla and golden jam fruit, not a buttery flavor. It’s oaky, like a finer Chardonnay. It’s warming, with a clove finish.
It’s a smooth drink and very interesting neat. I would say that it’s different from most sweeter bourbons and comparable to a fine Canadian whisky.
It’s very limited and rare; the E.H. Taylor, Jr. Warehouse C Tornado Surviving Bourbon will be available for $69.99 per 750ml bottle.