Elijah Craig 12 / Barrel Proof Batch #1

Ever make a swap agreement and then realize you’re out of bottles? And you live in a country where Boston Bottles are somehow hard as heck to get in? Well, I do, and that’s why I’m currently jumping up in reviews all of a sudden.

And that’s why I’m going to take a week to chill without the booze after these.

Elijah Craig was the name of a Baptist Preacher in Virginia. Well, the part of Virginia that would later become Kentucky. Confused yet? I know I am.

He used to own a warehouse where he stored barrels. According to legend, there was a fire, he decided to use the charred casks anyway, and the idea caught on. He later created a distillery, in 1789. I’m guessing that was before the Baptist church took a stance against alcohol. Granted that’s only some Baptist churches, so I guess not his.

Most of this was made up into legends…. well, not the Baptist part, that was someone else. None the less, it’s dubious if Craig was just another Bourbon man with a lot of money and stories to tell.

Thus, Elijah Craig bourbon… wasn’t born. This is just a tribute to him from Heaven Hills. Who continue the story that he invented Bourbon.

Anyway, today I’ll be reviewing the entry level offering and a sample of the Barrel Proof (Batch #1) as I start into this section of Heaven Hill’s juice.

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Elijah Craig 12 start us off, and I’m lucky to have traded someone who would like not to be named due to you vultures hunting him down. I kid of course: Vultures are respectable animals that are key to ensuring that ecosystems continue on. (this is all a joke, he’s just not trading anymore. Though Vultures are good, and you shouldn’t poison them).

ANYWAY, Elijah Craig 12 year is a mid range bourbon, and one I can actually regularly purchase in Canada. The embargo hasn’t gone on too long.

Let’s see how it tastes

Oh, and please support saving Vultures.

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Price: $42.95 (CAD) at the LCBO

Region: Kentucky

Abv: 47%

Mash Bill: 78% corn, 12% rye, 10% barley

Colour: Dark Mahogany

Nose: Candy corn, nail polish remover, dark fruits, light honey, floral, cherry

First rule of drinking Elijah Craig: Give it some water or give it some time, because holy Hot Balls on your Forehead, this is a spicy meat-a-ball.

After the initial blast that sears my nose hairs is passed, I pick up an almost port influence (there isn’t one though), with cherry being the main part of the nose after awhile.

Taste: Cherry, tobacco, pepper, caramel, mineral water, lemon/lime

Yup, there’s more cherry here than… I don’t want to finish that statement, I’ll end up on a list somewhere..

And there’s still some heat. I give it extra long to oxidize, as it needs it. It goes from quite sweet to having this acidic, bitter flavour mixed in the balance it. Eventually I think I gave it too long, as the mineral notes ended up marring it too much.

Finish: Cherry, tomato, spicy butter curry, tamarind, burn, Sprite

Very thick mouthfeel and a very long aftertaste on this one. After it cooled down everywhere else, it still had some burn in it. Eventually the lemon/lime bubbly taste took over from the burn.

Conclusion: Overall, I like this. It has tons of flavour, it burns like hell, there’s no shortcuts at all, and it actually stands out as a different tasting Bourbon than others. And I didn’t notice a ton of wood either, which is nice.

That said, the mineral parts of the flavour just aren’t my bag, and they eventually dominate a little too much. And having to constantly either add water or let it oxidize was a problem for me.


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My sample of Elijah Craig Barrel Proof comes from /u/jimvarney01. Thanks again!

So there’s 5 different batches of the Barrel Proof. This is about Batch #1. I’m wondering how much difference there will be, so I’m probably going to be hunting around for samples of the other ones in the future.

Released periodically throughout the years, this is one of those fun drams that everyone just “kinda” looks for. Like how Indiana Jones was “kinda” looking for the Ark of the Covenant.

So, as I’m knew to all this, let’s see how the genitals to the groundworks version shapes up.

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Price: N/A in the LCBO

Region: Kentucky

Abv: 67.1%

Batch #1

Mash Bill: 78% corn, 12% rye, 10% barley

Colour: Brick

Nose: Cherry, wood, lime, turpentine, licorice, roses, cashew, coffee

So from the look of this and the initial smell, I’d be fooled into thinking this was sherried. And I’d be very, very wrong.

Also, HOLY SHIT THIS IS HOT! I just realized this is probably the hottest dram I’ve ever reviewed, and the second hottest in my collection.

Yet it’s all worth it. After a few drops of water (yes, this is rare for me), it just came alive. Like, imagine the beginning of Song of Music, yet a tremor from Tremors comes out and eats her right at the Crescendo. That’s how alive this is. Tons of different flavours.

Taste: Mushroom, currant, spicy chicken, lots of nutmeg, chocolate, coffee

This is as close to whiskey yogurt as I ever want to come. It’s that thick. Like, I’ve only been eating meat and am dehydrated thick porn star level.

And very earthy, which is different. I’m so used to a whiskey start off sweet and then going earthy. Not this brute.

It’s almost too much, even after more water for me though. I give it all of an episode of Doctor Who, and it still burns. And some water.

Finish: Cherry, prickly, pear, caramel, cocoa, pepper, cinnamon

And a finish that lasts for days. Which is almost all cocoa for me by the end. Like taking the cocoa challenge (don’t do this).

Almost finishes like a Mexican Hot Chocolate with Cherry whiskey in it.

Conclusion: This is a beast of a whiskey, one that I’m going to remember for years to come. That said, while I typically don’t recommend it for myself, it needs water, or time, or ice, or something. It’s a beast and a half and then some. Hot, unique, complex, and just on the cusp of setting of memories.

Buy this if you can.

P.S. Yay hitting 300 reviews! I’m ~3% of the reviews in the archive!


Bourbon reviews #34 & 35, Kentucky reviews #23 & 24, Whiskey Network reviews #300 & 301

1001 Whiskies to taste before you die review #155

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