So, Jefferson's. I have to lay things out truthfully: Jefferson's Reserve, the big brother of this bourbon, is one of my least favorite bourbons, especially for its level of price and prestige. I think it's too woody (a problem it shares with EC18) with a strange twiggy aftertaste, like sticks coated with aspartame. The first time I tried Jefferson's was on the same night I first tried Pappy Van Winkle (the 23 year, actually, and while I thought it was awesome I wasn't quite bright enough to fully appreciate it yet -- which I've since rectified). For those confused by that sentence, I tried Jefferson's Reserve on the same night I tried one of the fabled big guns of American whiskey, so it might make sense that it pales in my memory, but later tastings confirmed that I don't quite like this particular flavor profile.
A super-quick review before I go into a history lesson:
JEFFERSON'S SMALL BATCH
$49.85, 82 Proof
Jefferson's is smooth, easy-drinking, oily, and not tremendously tasty. The nose is gloopy and a bit scalding, you really have to suck it out. The taste is very, very light, at times scotch-like; thick honey or sugar surrounded by oil with the slightest burn. The finish is charcoal and burnt honey, with almost a sulfurous taste, like cheap irish whiskey. I actually like this a bit more than Jefferson's Reserve, and it's a reasonable choice for those who like their whiskey "smooth" above all else, because it certainly is that, with a bit more character than Maker's (though, if you're going for smooth and easy, like Maker's, I don't know how much of a benefit unique character is). The big problem is the price -- for $50, you can get a bottle of Maker's or Elijah Craig and have money left over to buy a 6-pack of beer, or pick up some superior Eagle Rare.