In the storied and fascinating history of bourbon perhaps my favorite character in the whole country is the one and only Edmond Haynes Taylor!
Often referred to as the Father of Modern Bourbon, perhaps no one had been more essential to the growth and development of the bourbon industry.
What many people might not realize is that “The Colonel” was never in the armed services. As a banker in the 19th Century, Taylor was responsible for more bank loans to distillery start-ups than anyone in Kentucky. (And many of these loans were less than marginal.) But no one was more appreciated for his support of this growing industry than his distiller friends and that is why they affectionately bestowed him with the honorary title and nickname.
After leaving the banking industry, Taylor traveled to Ireland and Scotland, pursue his love of whiskey and learn distilling from the masters.
Upon returning home to Kentucky he became quite a renowned distiller in his own right plying his trade at the O.F.C distillery which is now the famous Buffalo Trace. He turned things over to George T. Stagg and opened his own distillery on the grounds that is now Castle & Key.
Taylor’s grandfather’s brother was former President Zachary Taylor and his family long had ties to the federal government as a result. He would use these ties to help champion the famous Bottled-In-Bond Act of 1897.
During this time Taylor was competing in what was essentially the wild, wild West of whiskey. No regulation meant illegal distillers and moonshiners would often put just about anything in their whiskey as filler.
As a result, many people fell ill. Others actually died. It was Taylor who helped put an end to that and gave the public a whiskey they could count on being safe and of high quality. Ironically, it would be another ten years until we did something similar with our food supply! (Food and Drug Act of 1907). That always cracks me up. I guess we had our priorities! Lol.
After leaving OFC, Taylor’s new distillery was considered one of the most beautiful of its kind and featured a castle, gardens and reflection pool. Not only that, Taylor invited everyone to come see his new distillery AND was excited to show everyone his process for making whiskey. This was a time when distillers wanted nothing to do with people nosing around their business. But in effect, Taylor created the first ever distillery tours, something that most distilleries today couldn’t survive without!
At Warren we feature the full line of limited edition EH Taylor Bottled-In-Bond releases (except I can’t get a hold of the Four Grain, damnit! lol) as well as two of our own single barrel, barrel picks. All of the above are some of the most delicious whiskies I’ve ever tasted!
We hope you’ll come visit the Warren Whiskey Library, discover and try some of these amazing spirits, and let us share more of this great man’s legacy!