The Boston Bourbon Boys, Al and Larry, have taken the challenge of determining the source of the mysterious Thedford Reserve "Colonial Style Bourbon". This comes packaged with 2 bottles and a fancy wooden cask. Retail price is about $300, though up here iln Boston we can get it for about $150.
Based on our extensive research, we have concluded that it is probably made by Brown/Forman and it may be Early Times Borbon, not available as such in the USA. Here is a summation of our evidence: The verbiage used to advertise both ET and TR is similar in many cases - both reference early colonists, limestone water, smooth and mellow taste, (as do most others bourbons). The round seal is remarkably similar, both have "point proofs" 90.4 ET vs. 92.6 TR. Thedford references no age statement, Early Times tells us in its website, that age does not matter as much as "maturity". The force age their whiskey several cycles per year in climate controlled warehouses, whereas non-climate controlled warehouses only undergo one cycle per year.
In our taste tests we compared TR against several Early Times bottlings. Kentucky Whiskey 80*-3 yrs 1985, Kent. Whisk, 80* 3 yrs 1997, ET straight boubron 3 yrs 80*, ET straight bourbon 4 yrs 80*. Then we tasted Old Forester BIB 6 yrs 100 1973 & 1979 and several other Old Foressters. We felt all bottles were from the same family and were similar.
Both are from Louisville KY. That was our biggest clue. Not a lot of distileries in the neighborhood.
We know Early Times bourbon is made for export only and cannot be sold domestically under that label but maybe there is a loophole that lets Brown Forman sell it under someone elses label and maybe that label is Thedford Reserve.
I'd be interested in John Lipman's response particularly.