Thanks to /u/blaw84 for sharing this dram.
Before Heaven Hill went to a different system and even a different bottle, angering many a bourbon nerd, and before they used a letter/number combination system (that actually makes more sense), there was one more Batch left to release with the double numbered system: Elijah Craig Barrel Proof [Batch 12].
So with a mashbill of 75% corn, 13% rye, and 12% malted barley, we have another year’s barrel strength version of Heaven Hill. I’ve spoken (probably too much) at length of how much I enjoyed the first and sixth batches. I recently reviewed batch A117, and wasn’t too blown away (though it was nice to sip on overall).
So is it the new system? Or maybe the new bottle, as we all fear? Well this one has the old numbers and the old bottle. From the magical year of 2012, when we all still existed and hadn’t been taken down by an Aztec curse.
Let’s see how it tastes, shall we?
Price: $149.95 CAD at the LCBO
Colour: 7.5YR 5/8
Nose: Butter, varnish, caramel, carrot
Nice butter and chemical/wood notes. Eventually big caramel (known for taking out those hard working people down in nougat town) and some earthy, sweet carrot is there.
Looking back at the release after this one (kinda like Back to the Future, but a lot less rape and racism), this is simpler, though there’s no overabundance of corn. It’s simpler, but nicer to nose.
Taste: Orange rind, oak, heat, caramel
Bitter at first, and some heat. It takes some time to really take this for what it is, a big ole caramel bomb (not to be mixed up with the joke I said before, when I compared them to a company).
It’s a tad bitter and hot for me. Not as burning as the last one, but close.
Finish: Caramel, zucchini, white grape, cheap coffee, vitamin C tablets
Here’s where the proceeding year’s batch and Batch 12 really differ. This one takes an earthy, bitter vibe at the end, saving it up and giving you a good time.
Or at least an interesting time. I jump between those two thoughts. I wrote that in the end, the finish is what I really enjoyed, and I kept sipping it to have the finish.
Conclusion: A simple nose, though nothing bad there. Then a muddled taste, though I don’t mind it. Finally a finish that’s where the whole thing is at, and really the whole point of having the dram.
That’s not easy to score. Really this gets 1 point higher than A117 just due to the fact that I enjoyed the finish so much. And could sip on it for that reason alone and be happy.
Bourbon review #221, Kentucky review #140, Whiskey Network review #1411
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