In honor of the 125th anniversary of “Bottled-in-Bond Day,” Buffalo Trace has teamed up with country superstar Chris Stapleton to release a bottle of the good stuff for a good cause. Very briefly, Bottled-in-Bond Day (March 3rd) celebrates the creation of the Bottled-in-Bond Act that federally regulated the production of American whiskey according to the proof for taxation/production purposes. It was a pivotal moment in the history of American whiskey.
For this special drop, Chris Stapleton (if you don’t know who he is, go listen to Traveller immediately) has linked with Buffalo Trace for the second year in a row to pick his own barrel and sell it for charity. This year, the single barrel release is an E.H. Taylor, Jr. Bottled-in-Bond Single Barrel personally selected by Stapleton at the famed distillery. Incidentally, E.H. Taylor was the in-studio bottle Stapleton and his band drank during the making of Traveller.
Over the next two weeks, you can bid on one of two options for a bottle of this very limited bourbon. One way to win is to bid on a package that includes concert tickets to a Stapleton show this April in Lexington, Kentucky, a VIP tasting for four people at Buffalo Trace, some merch, and, of course, the bottle. Another package includes the bottle, merch, and two tickets to any Stapleton show this year. You can enter both right here. The rest of the bottles will be available via various charity events associated with Stapleton’s Outlaw State of Kind organization throughout the year.
Okay, let’s get into what’s actually in the bottle.
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E.H. Taylor Single Barrel Bottled-in-Bond
Average Price: Charity only
The whiskey in this case is a 12-year-old barrel of E.H. Taylor. That whiskey was hand-picked by Chris Stapleton. It was then cut down very slightly to bottled-in-bond proof, or 100 proof, with that famously soft Kentucky limestone water.
The bottle is a classic E.H. Taylor bottle with a big, yellow label (a label which definitely happens to make one hell of a statement among aficionados). An additional label/sticker is on the bottle denoting the 125th anniversary of the Bottled-in-Bond Act and Stapleton’s “seal” of approval.
Dried dark fruits and a hint of vanilla wafers mingle with fig fruit leather, a touch of orchard wood, and a deep caramel on the nose. The palate holds onto those notes while layering in dark berry tobacco with sharp winter spices, new leather, and a singed cotton candy next to a cedar box filled with that tobacco. The finish lingers on your senses a while and leaves the spice behind for that dark, almost savory fruit note with an echo of blackberry Hostess pies next to soft leather pouches that have held chewy tobacco for decades and a final hint of old porch wicker in the middle of summer.
This feels very classic while offering a little something sweet and fruity, which is nice for a 12-year-old bourbon. I like this a lot over some rocks and it will make one hell of an old fashioned.
91/100 — This is classic, perfectly made, and very easy-drinking. There are no faults but also nothing to “wow” your palate either.