Wilderness Trail Single Barrel Bourbon

I first tasted Wilderness Trail Single Barrel Bourbon in 2019 on a trip to Kentucky. I had just wrapped up a barrel selection at Wild Turkey, so one could argue my palate wasn’t entirely fit for service. Now, it’s time to give this bottled-in-bond wheated bourbon a fair shot.


Pour: Wilderness Trail Single Barrel Bourbon (b. 16H29-8)
Proof: 100
Age: at least 4 years
Color: dense copper
Nose: cocoa-hazelnut, caramel popcorn, dark baking spice
Taste: boozy toffee, charred oak, toasted brown sugar
Finish: moderately long – vanilla extract, black licorice, leather


Overall: While there are some profile notes hovering youthful, there are just as many (or more) well-developed notes offsetting them. Wilderness Trail Single Barrel Bourbon is impressive for its age; it’s just not ready for primetime. Not yet, but soon.

Rating: Almost there.

Col. E. H. Taylor Straight Rye

There was a time when one could find Col. E. H. Taylor Straight Rye collecting dust on retail shelves in my area. (True story.) Those days are over. Hell, it’s probably been two years since I’ve seen *any* Taylor tube sitting on a liquor store shelf. Such are the days we live in.


Pour: Col. E. H. Taylor Straight Rye Whiskey
Proof: 100
Age: at least 4 years
Color: dark honey
Nose: maraschino cherry, vanilla wafer, blood orange
Taste: fruity caramel, lemon-honey, sweet oak char
Finish: moderate length – creamy cake frosting, ripe citrus, holiday spice


Overall: It might surprise some on first taste, but E. H. Taylor Rye isn’t distilled by Buffalo Trace. It’s distilled by Barton from a mash bill containing no corn. Unsurprisingly, it’s one uniquely tasty bottled-in-bond whiskey. If found at its $80 SRP, buy.

Rating: Damn ryet.

Early Times Bottled in Bond

In 2020, Sazerac announced their acquisition of the Early Times brand. That considered, I figured the sooner the better on a review of the in-the-know popular Brown-Forman distilled Kentucky straight bourbon. Coming soon to a Pappy halo near you, Early Times Bottled in Bond.


Pour: Early Times Bottled in Bond
Proof: 100
Age: at least 4 years
Color: copper
Nose: toasted banana, vanilla extract, nutmeg
Taste: caramel syrup, sweet oak, brown sugar
Finish: moderately long – burnt toffee, licorice, leather


Overall: This is good. Not just good for the money ($20/liter) but good, period. Most non-age-stated bonded bourbons taste their required four years. This one is an exception. Early Times Bottled in Bond is rich, flavorful, and surprisingly grown-up in profile.

Rating: BIN.

Old Tub

A not-so-attractive name with important historical significance. Some folks call Jim Beam’s Old Tub “Booker’s Junior.” An oxymoron of sorts, but they’re not entirely wrong. Regardless, a bottled-in-bond NCF KSBW for $20. What can go wrong?


Pour: Old Tub
Proof: 100
Age: at least 4 years
Color: amber
Nose: peanut brittle, buttered corn, light baking spice
Taste: peppery vanilla, nutty caramel toffee, toasted sugar
Finish: moderate length – sharp vanilla, brisk oak, diminishing black pepper


Overall: It’s $20, better than Beam Black, and it makes a solid Old Fashioned. Knob Creek it is not, but then it’s not supposed to be. Old Tub is decent whiskey at a budget price. It also looks good sitting on a shelf next to bottles triple its price.

Rating: No complaints.