Elijah Craig did not invent bourbon. Chuck Cowdery, Bourbon’s Ballast, said so. Many times. Yet the myth persists, even gently pushed along by Heaven Hill. The push back, not that it would help, has prompted some to claim that maybe not bourbon, but he was the first to age the whiskey in charred barrels. But this claim is still not verifiable and no evidence exists to suitably accompany this cute marketing flourish. And since no one cares, including me, we shall move on.
I must have been asleep at the time, but as we previously mentioned, Heaven Hill removed the age statement on the standard Elijah Craig, now called “Small Batch.” No fuss, no muss, frankly, as I think it probably improved. I long thought the 12 year old, while a fantastic value, was a bit too old anyway, and it could probably improve with some less aged bourbon now in the mix. For those who mourn the loss, it seems that Heaven Hill extended an olive branch with today’s Elijah Craig Barrel Proof expression. Not only do we get an astonishing 133.2 proofed bourbon, but the beloved age statement is retained, as the barrel proof version is 12 years old and is priced well at around $50, less so than other barrel proof offerings. Cry no more, dear friends. On to it…
Nose- Quite the push of heat. Oak, vanilla. Grasses, cucumber and mint. Rye and leather. Big and bad. But in a good way.
Taste- Oaky hit of old but plenty of sweet toffee. Strong. Vegetal funk. Fruit with time. Water helps. Viscous largesse.
Finish- Medium. Spice and booze. Barrel char with bitter oak. Toasted nuts.
Comment- Never thought we would get a barrel proof of EJ 12, but here we are, ready to rock. Like this a lot. For you high ABV freaks out there, this might be the ticket.
SWC Rating- 86/100