Thursday, May 31, 2012

Dusty Thursday: Century Old Taylor

I tried some National Distillers Old Taylor on a previous Dusty Thursday. Today's Old Taylor is dusty on steroids. Bottled in 1912, this is pre-prohibition Old Taylor "Kentucky Whiskey." According to bourbon historian Mike Veach, E.H. Taylor thought that many bourbons of the time were inferior so beginning in the 1870s, he started labeling his bourbons as "Kentucky Whiskey."

This bottled in bond bourbon, which I received from a reader, does not appear to have been treated well. It has a mangled tax stamp and comes with the remains of a torn up cardboard tube. The bottled date of 1912 is legible on the stamp, but the stamp portion which would have included the distillation date is torn off.

Old Taylor BIB, bottled 1912, 50% abv.

The nose has some nice caramel and vanilla notes, some marshmallow and rye spice, but also a touch of vinegar. The palate on this starts with some of those sweet bourbon notes with that touch of tang that came off as vinegar on the nose. It goes down quite hot for a 100 proofer; it may be that the acidic quality adds to that. The finish is very acidic, sort of reminiscent of when you throw up a little bit in your mouth but manage to force it back down; it's not that it tastes of vomit but of the subsequent acid in the mouth.

Well, the problem with dusties, especially really old ones, is that you never know how they were handled over the years and whether they have maintained their integrity. Of course, it could have had these qualities to begin with, but that acidic vinegar note suggests to me that this one has gone bad, while some of the underlying bourbon notes hint at what might have been a really good whiskey. Given that this is one hundred years old, it could have spent 60 years in someone's steaming hot attic or woodshed. Who knows? Pity my poor reader who paid a pretty penny for it, but that's the world of dusties for you.


sam k said...

A good example of how a decent fill level can deceive you about what might have happened to this bottle over the last 100 years.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained, my's always worth a shot!

Lazer said...

In the current ralfy vlog #276, he interviews a whisk(e)y auction expert who talks about how whiskey slowly changes in the glass bottle over time, specifically the effects of glass on whiskey. I recomend you check it out.

sku said...

Lazer, I'll check it out. Old bottle effect is a much discussed phenomenon, but I don't know that it was in play here.

Jason Beatty said...

I'm the buyer of this dude! I think this one had to do with elements... I bought what I thought was a perfect VOF because of the fill line. The outer wear was pretty significant and though the whiskey still tasted damn good, it was not up to potential. I bought a 1955 VOF with some evaporation that is #2 on my all time favorites... Least to say, I never buy these bottles for personal pleasure because they are too risky.

Jason Beatty said...

Meant dud... as in it smelled like a milk dud and then tasted like a waste of money!!! BTW, us bartenders are using vinegar in cocktails but this was also a BAD vinegar taste!