Early Times 354 Bourbon tasting

Early Times 354 is a new Bourbon that went on sale earlier this year. It is different from Early Times Kentucky Whisky, which is not a Bourbon, but rather a Kentucky Whisky.

What’s the difference?

Early Times Kentucky Whisky is blended and, among other things, is not aged in new charred white oak barrels.

Now, on to our unscientific product tasting of Early Times 354.

I arrived at the Super Bowl party with a new bottle of Early Times 354 and a new bottle of Buffalo Trace White Dog Mash #1 (think moonshine). White Dog is the distilled spirit of the Bourbon ingredients. It is clear as water. After the clear product is aged in new charred white oak barrels it takes on the amber color and smokey taste of the barrel.

David, Michael and I started with the White Dog to get a sense of the character of the pre-bourbon product. We did not go blind. It was strong and had a spicy bite with some hint of the corn and yeast along with a general alcohol smell. It is more of a novelty beverage.

In addition to the Early Times 354, we sampled Labrot & Graham’s Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select and Barton Distilling’s 1792 Ridgemont Reserve.

The results: David and Michael both noted the kick of the Woodford and 354. Both had a spicy or peppery finish. We all agreed that the Woodford was more pleasing on the nose – a richer aroma. While the Woodford’s initial impact was smoother than the 354, both had a stronger finish than the 1792.

My tastings were skewed because I knew which spirit was being served each time. I still prefer 1792. It has a silky smooth taste at first sip along with a quieter finish.

Both Michael and David put the Woodford on top and consider it a good upper-end daily kind of spirit. They were pleasantly surprised at the quality of the 354 especially at the price of about $16.

Generally, I will stick with my favorite 1792.

As always, enjoy responsibly.


About Kim Kolarik

Exploring bourbon one sip at a time and sharing the experience.© Contact me at kdkolarik@bourbonsips.com I've followed the original bourbon trail from my native Pennsylvania, where the whiskey rebellion erupted to Louisville, Kentucky, my current home. Bourbon is now in a revolution of expansion. I'll be bringing you news, information and tasting notes of bourbon from Kentucky and the emerging craft distillers from around the United States. I am photographer, designer and editor. --Kim D. Kolarik
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