Thursday, January 12, 2012

Dusty Thursday: Early Times Bourbon Circa 1981

Since I've been writing a lot about Brown Forman lately, I thought I would try another dusty Brown Forman bottle: Early Times Bourbon.

Early Times used to be a regular bourbon offering from Brown Forman. Then, they started ageing it in used barrels (a bourbon no-no) and calling it "American Whiskey." In 2010, Brown Forman brought back a bourbon under the Early Times label while continuing to produce the American Whiskey.

Today's dusty Early Times is from the era when Early Times was always bourbon. The bottle indicates "81" on the bottom so it's likely from around 1981. It is a liter bottle with the metric measurement. Alcohol is indicated by proof only and there is no government warning, but there is a UPC code.

Early Times Straight Bourbon, 80 proof (40% abv), 4 years old.

The nose on this is very light with alcohol fumes and kerosene. This is actually one of the few bourbons that is better on the palate than on the nose, though it is still pretty light. It's got corn syrup and rock candy. The finish is nice and Bourbony. It is light and easy to drink, but it doesn't come together that well and the nose is weak. Mediocre, but I still like it better than the current Early Times American Whiskey.

Early Times has always been Brown Forman's lower shelf offering. When looking for dusties, I'll stick to Old Forester.


Greg said...

Steve - I have a handle open from 1979 and find it to be a very enjoyable, albeit, light pour. Even at 80 proof, the flavor profile is more pronounced that anything 80 proof today.

Billy said...

I think Early Times are switching to being a bourbon in the USA (as well as in foreign markets). Mark Gillespie had an interview with someone from Brown Forman in WhiskyCast 297.

No idea if that will up the quality or just change the whisky that goes into the bottle...