While I was on the East Coast in early December 2014, I met up with The Coopered Tot for an evening. And as is his habit, he generously treated me to a flock of excellent OLDE whiskies. He sent me home with a number of samples as well (thank you, Coop!). One of these samples came from this:
"But wait!" says you, observant reader, "That means this whisky is actually more than nine years old [your italics]. It could even be as much as nine years nine months old." Yes, you are right. The whiskey in the bottle has to be at least as old as the label says, but may very well be older.
How about a review?
Beam, Inc. at time of bottling, but now owned by Suntory
Brand: Old Taylor
Distillery: Jim Beam Distillery
Distiller: Booker Noe (I think)
Location: Clermont, Kentucky
Mash Bill: ???
ABV: 50% ABV
Label's age statement: 8 years
Actual age: Over 9 years (Spring 1961 - Fall 1970)
It has a dark cherrywood color, very similar to the Sparkplug decanter bourbon. The nose leads with a brick of brown sugar and caramel sauce. Digging deeper... orange peel, peach candy, Nestle Crunch, and pipe tobacco. It does have some quirkier notes of furniture polish and cat fur just to keep things interesting. It gets fudgier with time. Then maybe some white fruits come along. Also something reminiscent of young Armagnac. The palate starts with black cherry ice cream, cadbury creme eggs, lychee candy, and earthy molasses. It's a real sweetie with a spicy nip. It picks up more rye character with time; think pepper, cloves, and bitters. Then honey, mint, and maybe a mothball. It finishes sweetly too. Corn syrup, caramel, and honey. After some time, a green herbalness develops, and some tart citrus hits the back of the throat.
Unlike yesterday's Beam, this one started strong and never let go. And I wonder if the extra alcohol helped preserve it better both in the decanter and in the glass. To me this sits above everything else that Beam offers right now. It easily tops the Knob Creeks and Bookerses I've had, and would make a good sparring partner with Baker's (which I've always liked). It's not the world's greatest bourbon, but it's solid through and through. If Beam could reproduce this, I would buy it.
Also, my system has shown no signs of lead poisoning. Yet.
Availability - Collectors or antique sellers whom haven't dumped the booze
Pricing - ???
Rating - 87