Old Taylor Distillery Returns…

Old Taylor Distillery is coming back to us!

The Old Taylor Distillery was built in 1877 by Colonel Edmund Haynes Taylor, Jr. as his own “personal castle” distillery. The place is practically a medieval fortress!

E.H.Taylor not only had plenty of experience in owning and operating distilleries by this time, but he also had toured many European distilleries, as well, and applied that knowledge to Old Taylor’s construction. He was now using rollers instead of mill stones to get more consistent mash. He was using copper mashtuns and made his own barrels -even experimenting with smaller barrels! This was the first distillery to build ricks in warehouses seperating the barrels from one another and allowing the barrels to “breathe”. (instead of stacking them in a heap) Though this is now the industry standard, the idea was a breakthrough for whiskey maturation at the time.

The castle was built out of limestone (very whiskey appropriate) and had battlements, ionic columns and a vast gardens complex. It was designed to captivate its visitors. The springhouse was designed to look like a Roman bath! The visitors could stroll through gardens and gaze at reflecting pools all while sipping a FREE 10th pint of Old Taylor. For his annual Kentucky Derby party, he would actually hire a train to bring his guests directly there. Sounds spectacular doesn’t it? This distillery, which was once the jewel of the American whiskey world, has been sitting under weeds and debris for decades now.

Here we are, in 2015, longing for the long awaited reopening of the distillery (April 2016). They cannot call their product Old Taylor, of course, as that brand belongs to Buffalo Trace. I always felt bad about that fact, though. E.H.Taylor fought long and hard in the courts against George T. Stagg to retain the rights to his own name (before strict copyright laws were laid down)
and now his bottles are being sold by the George T. Stagg distillery! E.H.Taylor passed away in 1922 during the throws of Prohibition. During his life, he brought us the Bottled in Bond Act of 1897. He helped to pass the Food and Drug Act, promoted innovation in whiskey production, and passed laws that helped American whiskey maintain its integrity. This forefather of bourbon deserves our respect and admiration. It’s about time that his beautiful showpiece of the Industrial Revolution can be visited and appreciated again.


Designers spent hours studying vintage photos of Kentucky’s Old Taylor Distillery to get the restoration just right