Every whiskey fan knows about Col. E.H. Taylor at this point due to the uber-popular label produced by Buffalo Trace. What many whiskey fans may not know is that Col. E.H. Taylor was not only a popular figure in the Kentucky whiskey industry, he also built his own distillery in the late 1800s that still stands today! Inspired by European architecture, Col. Taylor was a pioneer in whiskey tourism, constructing a fairy tale castle on the grounds to draw visitors from afar, complete with classical springhouse and sunken garden.
Around 2012, however, with the Bourbon boom heating up, a group of investors began looking into revamping the ancient distillery. Inspired by the history of the location and the current movements within the industry, they eventually purchased the site in 2014 and—not being able to use the Col. Taylor license owned by Buffalo Trace—renamed it Castle & Key. After hiring Marianne Eaves from Brown-Forman to become Kentucky’s first-ever female master distiller, distillation began once again at the Old Taylor Distillery, both for Castle & Key’s proprietary labels and for contract purchasing.
Knowing they would eventually need to find a permanent home for their American whiskey label, the team at Pinhook reached a deal with Castle & Key to contract futures of both Bourbon and rye whiskey. The plan was to eventually transition out of MGP distillate and move the entire line over to C&K. Having started that transition roughly five years ago, Pinhook is now sitting on numerous barrels of 4+ year old, C&K-distilled, Kentucky Bourbon of a custom recipe of 75% corn, 15% rye, and 10% barley.
This past winter, we worked with Pinhook to create a "true" small batch special edition consisting of three single barrels, blended together at cask strength for a final ABV of 56.65%, the youngest barrel being four years of age. The whiskey is unbelievably fruity in character, brimming with fresh nectarine and berries, rounding out in the middle with toasted oak, and finishing with a flurry of clove and cinnamon spices that light up your tongue at full proof.
Buffalo Trace may own the E.H. Taylor trademark, but this is real Old Taylor-distilled Bourbon from a historic landmark that will once again rise to prominence. It's also the first chance we've had thus far to try Castle & Key's distillate. We think you're going to be very pleased.