So after previously reviewing the E.H. Taylor Single Barrel a few months back, I finally got around to picking up a bottle of the step down, the E.H. Taylor Small Batch. Another offering from the Buffalo Trace distillery, the small batch is bottled at 100 proof after an average of 7 years in the barrel. Available for prices about $10-$15 lower than its single barrel upgrade, I was surprised to see how many extremely high reviews of this product I see while searching.
On the nose there is a lot of vanilla and caramel notes, definitely sweet on the nose. Quite strong alcohol piercing on the nose as well, some other sweet notes are there, maybe a bit of an apple scent in the background.
The taste of this one starts with buttery caramel with vanilla and oak quickly joining behind them. The apple sweetness carries through from the scent. The finish has some of those nice tobacco notes that although I see written about, I rarely actually can identify in bourbons.
With a few drops of water the apple notes come out much stronger on the nose, with the vanilla and oak becoming much more mellow. In the mouth after the addition of just a few drops water this becomes extremely smooth, with incredible balance between all of the flavors, with a bit of char flavor on the finish.
Overall the E.H. Taylor Small Batch is a great offering at a great value. At this point I do not believe that this is better than the single barrel offering as I have seen suggested in the past, but it is still a great bourbon. For the price I could believe the argument though that this is a better value, although like the single barrel it can be hard to find at times.