Old taylor

69 Rot Gut

There isn't a lot to like with this bourbon.

This truncated review was originally published as part of our Budget Bourbon Battle Royale.  The original post can be found here.

Old taylor 80 bottleThere was a time that Old Taylor was amongst the best bourbon in the world, and its distillery was the showpiece for the entire bourbon industry.  That time is long past.  Today, the Old Taylor brand is owned by Buffalo Trace after it was recently (2009) purchased from Jim Beam.  The bottle I am sampling was distilled in the Beam era, and follows the standard Jim Beam recipe.  It is 6 years old, and 80 Proof.

  • glencairn-amazonAppearance: Very pale.
  • Nose: Leather. Very little wood or oak, but some bitter tannins.
  • Taste: Corn, more corn, and then follows up with corn.  There isn’t much depth to this.  Some new wood flavors hint on the back of the tongue.
  • Finish: Short finish, with lots of acrid wood and alcohol bite for an 80 proof bourbon.  Bitter.
  • Score: 69/100.


There isn’t a lot to like with this bourbon aside from the price tag.  It lacks depth and delicacy.  The best compliment I can give it is that…well…it’s bourbon.  Avoid.

The ModernThirst.com scoring system is a standard 100 point system based on 4 categories, taken in order.

  1. Appearance: 15 points
  2. Nose: 25 Points
  3. Palate/Taste: 35 Points
  4. Finish: 25 points
  • 95+        Epic
  • 90-94     Excellent, Good representative of its style
  • 85-89     Solid sipper
  • 80-84     Drinkable, but potentially flawed.
  • 75-79     Low quality, flawed, use as a mixer only
  • <75        Rot Gut, avoid
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About Author

Bill is the Co-Founder, Editor-in Chief, and official Bourbon-o-Phile for ModernThirst.com, and Founder and Chief Blending Officer for Four Gate Whiskey Company. He is a native of Louisville, KY in the heart of Bourbon Country. He attended the University of Kentucky in the mid to late 1990s. He has also been published on Liquor.com. He has conducted various bourbon and whiskey tastings in cities across the country, and consulted for multiple national labels. He is married with two daughters, and lives in east Louisville. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter @BillStraub and email him at Bill@ModernThirst.com.


  1. Pingback: Ever wanted to see all of our Whiskey Review Scores in one Place? (March 2015) | ModernThirst

    • Depends on the age.

      Prior to 2009, it was distilled by jim beam, and that’s not particularly good. Prior to that, it was national distillers, and earlier ND bottles were outstanding.

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