As bourbon continues to climb onto liquor shelves and spirits companies struggle with meeting demand, we should never forget several Kentucky distilleries are collecting dust, cobwebs and being scrapped out in the junk-part market. When I was granted access to the Old Taylor Distillery, my heart sunk a little.

Colonel E.H. Taylor (1832-1922) was his time’s greatest American whiskey personality. Nearly a century after his death, Buffalo Trace honors his legacy with several beautiful series of whiskey. The Colonel E.H. Taylor Single Barrel is one of my favorite single barrels on the market. To learn more about Taylor, check out EllenJaye.com’s excellent time capsule.

I love whiskey history and taking these photos nearly brought a tear to my eye, but the images made me realize our connection to brands, be it Maker’s Mark or Pappy Van Winkle, can only survive if the brand’s parent company makes smart decisions. Taylor and Crow were once the biggest names in bourbon. I doubt your average bourbon drinker could tell you anything about these two men.

As you look upon these photos, remember: The bourbon you enjoy today may not be here 30 years from now. View the full photo gallery at FredPhoto.net.

The castle of Old Taylor was Kentucky's crown piece of whiskey architecture. Today, it's just a breeding ground for rats and snakes.

The castle of Old Taylor was Kentucky’s crown piece of whiskey architecture. Today, it’s just a breeding ground for rats and snakes.

Colonel Taylor built a spring house to entertain guests.

Colonel Taylor built a spring house to entertain guests.

 

Production papers from the 1970s

Production papers from the 1970s

The Old Crow brand was once the No. 1 American whiskey. Now, it's bottom-shelf cheap liquor.

The Old Crow brand was once the No. 1 American whiskey. Now, it’s bottom-shelf cheap liquor.

The Old Taylor Distillery once stored thousands of barrels. Today, the only barrel left is without whiskey or heads and has weeds growing through it.

The Old Taylor Distillery once stored thousands of barrels. Today, the only barrel left is without whiskey or heads and has weeds growing through it.

After other distilleries took all the parts they needed from Old Taylor, locals nabbed what they wanted. Apparently, nobody wanted this old toilet seat.

After other distilleries took all the parts they needed from Old Taylor, locals nabbed what they wanted. Apparently, nobody wanted this old toilet seat.

 

This room once held the mash tuns. Now, it's nothing but rubble.

This room once held the mash tuns. Now, it’s nothing but rubble.

Just outside the distillery, Glenn's Creek flows. The well house is a dilapidated and covered in funk.

Just outside the distillery, Glenn’s Creek flows. The well house is a dilapidated and covered in funk.

Despite a large fence with barbed-wire over the top, kids still manage to sneak inside to pop off firecrackers.

Despite a large fence with barbed-wire over the top, kids still manage to sneak inside to pop off firecrackers.