Review: Colonel E.H. Taylor Jr. Warehouse C (Tornado Surviving) Bourbon

In the spring of 2006, a tornado rampaged the grounds of Buffalo Trace distillery, doing considerable damage to two barrel aging warehouses, Warehouses B and C. Warehouse B had no barrels aging at the time, but Warehouse C held 24,000 barrels of whiskey that were now exposed to the elements due to damage to the upper regions of it’s roof and walls.

The bourbon in the third release of the E.H. Taylor Jr. label comes from 93 barrels aged in the top two levels of Warehouse C. These barrels were exposed to the extreme temperatures and weather for at least a few months until the repairs concluded the summer of 2006. Gimmick? Eh, I would say it certainly has the marketing folks fingerprints all over it, but it’s a pretty cool story.

What we do know is the “angels share”, a term commonly used to describe the amount of whiskey that evaporates or leaves the barrel over time, was nearly 64% for these barrels. That means the barrels had only about 35% (on average) of the whiskey still left in them. The bourbon was also between 9 years and 8 months to 11 years and 11 months old when it was batched together and bottled.

Here are my thoughts on this tornado dodging whiskey……..

Colonel E.H. Taylor Jr. Warehouse C (Tornado Surviving) Bourbon, 50% abv (100 Proof), $75

Color: Deep Amber

Nose: A fruit and spice forward nose with ever present oak throughout. Rich dark dried fruits (raisins, plums, figs) soaked in old rum, candied orange, nutmeg, clove and tobacco make for a simply gorgeous nose. Phenomenal!

Palate: Cinnamon, rye spice, and chili right from the start of the sip – very concentrated warmth up front. Candied dark fruits, berry syrup, and brittle caramel lend sweetness. Most of the flavor and punch are in the front half of the mouth, dipping significantly at mid palate, and then building again with very strong wood resin grip and bitterness towards the finish.

Finish: Big baking spices (cinnamon, clove, nutmeg), bitter orange, black tea, and dark caramel. Moderate length.

Overall: E.H. Taylor Tornado (we’ll call it) has a big flavor profile befitting its story. I love the nose, finding it to be damn near perfect. The palate let me down just a bit with much of the excitement happening up front, and then petering out rather swiftly. Nevertheless there’s fantastic flavor here of the rich, deep, fruity, and spicy variety. If very well spiced and fruity bourbons are your thing – this will be right up your alley. This is also the best of the 3 E.H. Taylor releases to date by a considerable margin in my opinion. The price however could use some review. I’d like to see this much closer to $50, and in return the value quotient would improve. Regardless it’s still a superb whiskey worthy of consideration if you don’t mind paying the price.

Sour Mash Manifesto Rating: 8.9 (Superb/Outstanding)


  1. Harald H Moore says:

    I’ve been sitting on a bottle of “Tornado” for a few weeks now, and decided to sample it tonight (prompted, of course, by your review). My palate isn’t experienced enough to give a worthwhile description of flavors; but I can say with confidence that I enjoyed my first experience with this bottle. Tasty, easy to drink neat, smooth, and with minimal burn.
    I haven’t sampled the first release (Sour Mash), but I have a bottle of the 2nd (Single Barrel); and will agree that “Tornado” is a better sipper. (I found the Single Barrel more enjoyable after a small ice cube was allowed to melt; but Tornado is nice, right from the bottle).

    I’ve seen this priced at $63-79, locally…I like it enough to grab another bottle at $63, if it is still available at that shop. (It was the first in the area to have it, and the higher priced places are just now getting it on the shelf). Some might reasonably argue that even this price is too high; but it is within my comfort zone for a bottle I enjoy. If they’re sold out, I’d have to re-evaluate after another sample or two, because I agree that $75-79 (plus tax) is a bit much….especially when I’m waiting for the NY allotment of Pappy Van Winkle to show up here.

    Love the site/reviews, Jason. Keep up the good work, and

  2. Steven Tucker says:

    Thanks for a great review. The Tornado is a new favorite of mine and I’m looking forward to the rye when it is released. BT’s pricing of the E.H. Taylor bottlings really concerns me, though, particularly when you consider that I can get any of the vastly superior BTAC releases for just a few dollars more.

    One quesion. You state that the barrels were between 9 years 8 months to 11 years 11 months old “when it was batched together and bottled.” However, the bourbon is labeled “Bottled in Bond” which should mean that the spirit is the product of just one distilling season. Can you clarify? I’m assuming that BT didn’t violate the BIB Act and that we should expect some variances between batches, as with the E.H. Taylor single barrel.

  3. Steven, wonderful question man! And honestly one I cannot answer. You’re correct with your definition of Bottled in Bond. I can only assume some of the barrels from that period were dumped and held in stainless steel and added to once other barrels were deemed ready. But that’s only a guess. In some ways the BIB act has been rendered a bit useless due to the labeling criteria that distillers and bottlers must go through today. Either way – this is a great question that I’ll ask the folks at BT and hope we can get an answer one. Sharp eyes!

    Harold, thanks for the comment. It is very tasty bourbon and you got it for a much better price. I haven’t seen it around me for under $74.95. Cheers!

  4. Todd Halterman says:

    Thanks for the review!

    This bottle of EHT rivals Pappy 20 as some of my very favorite sipping bourbons. Both very smooth and easy to drink…

    Solid notes on this… the hint of rye to this made this bottle very appealing to me…

    Steven: I didn’t realize EHT was coming out with a rye… Is that their next release?

  5. Bmac says:

    I too am sitting on my bottle of ‘Tornado’. I have too many open bottles at present.

    However, my understanding of the bottling for ‘Tornado’ is that the 9yr 8mn and 11yr 11mn were not mixed but batched separately (following the BIB Act.) The talk amongst the enthusiasts is that you may get an 11 yr bottle or a 9 yr bottle. This prompted many people into buying multiple bottles and even cases. I just have the one and will likely have to be satisfied with it whether it’s the 9 or the 11.

    (but…our whiskey goes to 11.) – Sorry…couldn’t resist 🙂

  6. Steven, just confirmed from Kris Comstock, Buffalo Trace Brand Manager, that this was two separate barrel dumps from that season. So it complies with BIB. Great question once again!

  7. iskch1 says:

    The magic of marketing. Sounds familiar to the Glenfiddich Snow Phoenix Vatted Malt story. The only issue I have with the E.H.T is the price. There are so many good bourbons out there for less. Great Review.

  8. Joe Serapilio says:

    Jason,I’ve had all three.Tornado,Sourmash&Single Barrel is the order I like them in.I also agree it is very easy to drink.Very tasty.I say to myself this stuff’s 100 proof.I would love to see a E.H.Taylor Rye Bottled in Bond.Have a nice Easter,Joe

  9. Max says:

    I have not been too impressed with the Tornado. When I saw the headline I figured I’d be reading another glowing review and scratching my head some more, but your take is pretty much like mine.

    It’s good whiskey, not amazing, and overpriced. There is some great flavor in there, but I find it too brash. I prefer more balance in my sippers. I’d have rather bought something else.

  10. Tim Read says:

    @Joe – There is an EH Taylor Rye coming; the label has been submitted to the COLA database.

  11. Joe Serapilio says:

    Tim,Thank you for the confirmation.

  12. EricH says:

    Sounds EXACTLY like the Glenfiddich Snow Phoenix which was priced about the same (which might be why I bought one).

    Which mashbill was used in the Tornado bottling by the way? The tin and label don’t seem to say and I’d love to try this against the Rock Hill Farm BT makes.

  13. Joe Serapilio says:

    I believe mashbill one(low rye) was used in the E.H.Taylor line.Rock Hill is mashbill two(high rye) I think Rock Hill is the better whiskey based on price&taste.Just my opinion.

  14. Joe – you are right on – the #1 mashbill. Same mash as Eagle Rare, George T. Stagg, and the namesake BT Bourbon.

    Tim – thanks for confirming. Looking to try this!

    Max – I enjoyed this very much, but I absolutely concur that this is not a symmetrical whiskey for sure.

  15. Ray O says:

    I opened a bottle of the Tornado to drink a toast to the well being and safety of family members who were traveling through the DFW area when the real thing hit recently. I have to say that I just love the Tornado. It’s different and demonstrates more than most other bourbons that there is variety in bourbons, other than just great, good or bad of the same thing. The nose and flavor are rich and it rolls to the back of the throat rather nicely. The fruit and spice flavors are what makes it somewhat unique. Good stuff!

  16. Justin says:

    Being sold in the low 80s range in Chicago–by far the most expensive bottle in my bar that isnt Scotch. You could definitely get something as good or better for the money. I just grabbed it to try something new.

    Anyway, I do enjoy the fruit up-front, barrel dryness and spice later on characteristic of this bourbon. The Woodford Reserve Seasoned Oak has a similar story behind it–albeit on purpose–and I wonder if the flavor of that bourbon is similar.

  17. Jon says:

    Was given bottle as a gift. Not as advanced as all of you on this site. But I liked the bite of this whiskey. Packaging is amazing. I’ll sip it on cool fall evenings without a care. 8.5/10.

  18. Matt S. says:

    I have a bottle of this and agree with the review and the positive comments above. However, I believe this does play to the story/emotional angle a bit more than we let on (myself included). My question is this: if this sun/heat made such a unique and wonderful whiskey, will they be replicating it in the future by intentionally putting their barrels outside for a few months to bake? Great whiskey, though.

  19. Shawn says:

    My concern here is that the Taylor name was owned by Jim Beam until 2009. If the tornado was in 2006, at Buffalo Trace, then how was this ever Taylor bourbon to start with. Or is the Old Taylor and EH Taylor different stuff?

  20. Shawn, great question, but I’m fairly sure Old Taylor is altogether independent of EH Taylor. The warehouse in question is actually a Buffalo Trace warehouse. All of that is quite legit.

  21. Bill Bird says:

    At the end of the Summer I stopped in my county liquor store in Germantown, MD, there was 1 bottle of this left. I had read reviews of it, and it was priced well at $57 dollars. I don’t spend that much on my beloved Bourbon, as I buy it to drink and Bookers is usually on sale under $50 several weeks during the year.

    Having been given a bottle of JD Honey (yuck) and Crown Black (already have one from last year) and knowing that bottle was still on the shelf, I traded both in and only needed to pony up $20 to make that purchase I dreamed about since August.

    I will be opening it tomorrow night during Justified, and savoring every last sip. Thanks for this review.

  22. TrueNorth says:

    I have had the good fortune to connect with three bottles of this unusual bourbon, or should we say the product of an unusual story. The review is spot on and in a comparison tasting this past summer at camp with several friends, the tornado surviving stood out amidst a sea of quality bourbons. Not necessarily better but noticeable. A bit intense, and yes, brash as an earlier blogger noted, but bold and in its own inimitable fashion, somewhat unique…. we really liked it! I have a bottle sitting in the pantry for this summer waiting for a visit from a bourbon loving friend….