Early Times Kentucky Whisky is currently owned by Sazerac, but this little bottle was distilled by Brown-Forman. How do I know? Because Sazerac (Buffalo Trace) bought ET in 2020 and announced it would be produced at their Barton 1792 facility in 2021. This little guy has been sitting in my review cabinet for at least 4 years. Patiently waiting for its time to be photographed, sniffed, sipped, and scrutinized.
Created by blending Straight Bourbon (new charred oak) and “whiskey distilled from a bourbon mash” (used cooperage), this is a unique whiskey. Yeah, double casks are everywhere these days, but this is a true blending of new and used cooperage distillate which puts it in a realm of its own.
Now, let’s get to drinkin’!
Early Times Kentucky Whisky – Details and Tasting Notes
Style: American Whiskey
Region: Kentucky, USA
Mash Bill: 79% Corn, 11% Rye, 10% Malted Barley
Cask: New Charred Oak and Used Cooperage
Age: 3 Years
Early Times Kentucky Whisky Price: $16
“The name Early Times was chosen as a tribute to the old-fashioned method of making whisky, which included mashing grain in small tubs and distilling the whisky in copper stills over open fires.” – Early Times
Early Times Kentucky Whisky Tasting Notes
Caramel, soft oak, vanilla, cinnamon, biscuity/bready, and light melon rind.
A perfectly inoffensive whiskey aroma.
Caramel, soft oak, vanilla, cinnamon, biscuity/bready, peanuts, and a light bit of cocoa.
A perfectly inoffensive whiskey palate.
Medium -> Soft oak, caramel, vanilla and spice.
BALANCE, BODY and FEEL
Ok balance, medium body and a soft light feel.
Early Times Kentucky Whisky – Overall Thoughts and Score
This is the definition of a MOTR whiskey, a true 2.5 if there ever was one. It’s approachable, it’s easy, and it has a decent whiskey aroma and flavor to it. The used cooperage seems to work to allow the oak to shine through without dominating. It’s what the kids call “smooth juice”.
It’s easy to see why, beyond the price point, Early Times Kentucky Whisky is the well whiskey at so many bars. It’s simple, mixes easily, and is neither strong nor offensive. It’s the color beige of the whiskey world and sometimes that’s exactly what the occasion calls for.
SCORE: 2.5/5 (average, drinkable, possible minor flaws ~ C+ | 77-79)
Early Times Kentucky Whisky Review