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Elijah Craig 12 Year Old Barrel Proof

Nozinan Mini and Sample Series - 32

6 291

@NozinanReview by @Nozinan

28th Feb 2017


Elijah Craig 12 Year Old Barrel Proof
  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

The Accidental Review

I was looking for something to sustain me tonight as I finish some work and prepare minutes for a meeting, so I rummaged through my growing collection of neglected samples and poured the last 10 cc of this bottle, generously supplied by @Victor. I think I have a bottle of the same batch (same ABV). First sniff and I felt I had to write a review of it! It was gassed since I first poured some a long time ago, and I don’t know how long the bottle was open before the sample was poured.

I’m captivated by its rich, dark brown colour. Normally I don’t pay any heed to appearance, but given that by law bourbon cannot contain added colour, this is natural and all a result of oak interaction, and I can’t help but be impressed by the power of the wood.

This expression is reviewed in my usual manner, allowing it to settle after which I take my nosing and tasting notes, followed by the addition of a few drops of water, waiting, then nosing and tasting.


Neat – On first sniff, brown sugar and caramel, some vanilla. Left covered a few minutes and I get fruits, medium pitch. Cherries? Like from Cott’s black cherry soda. Dusty medium to heavy syrup. This is a warm, dark nose. You’d never guess this was 70% alcohol but the nose cries out FULL FLAVOUR . 23/25

With water – The nose remains fruity and full with no appreciable changes. (23/25)


Neat – Very oaky. Dusty. Sweet arrival, sour/bitter development. Astringent. Dark strong vanilla, some caramel in the background. Strong but not complex. You don’t feel any alcohol nip. 21/25

With water – Suddenly becomes hotter. After a few minutes this new alcohol nip fades to be replaced by a spiciness. Sweeter arrival, less bitter. I get some menthol or mint, and a more prominent sourness on the development. Much more complex than before and much more pleasant. (22/25)

Finish: Very dry, bitter . Medium finish. Unremarkable. 21/25. With water the finish is sweeter, less bitter, but not too long. (21.5/25)

Balance: The nose promises wonders but the palate does not deliver. Very uni-dimensional. 21/25 Water definitely enhances the balance and the entire experience, and helps this grow and open. (22.5/25)

Score: Neat - 86/100 With Water: 89 /100

Adjusted Score based on Patience and Enjoyment: 91/100

This is powerful bourbon. Even the last 10 cc are delicious. Although I like my bourbons neat, a few drops of water make this open beautifully, and while it brings out the alcohol, within 10-15 minutes this subsides leaving a full-bodied, more complex dram.

When I first started writing this review I thought that my 2 bottles (1 of this batch) were unlikely to excite me to buy more, but by the end of my review I feel obligated to bring more into Canada if I can, especially to share, because this a unique and flavourful bourbon.

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Victor commented

@Nozinan, thanks for your very nice review. This batch # 6 of Elijah Craig Barrel Proof is one with which I will routinely use some water, mostly because it brings out some sweetness which is otherwise very scarce with this batch. I never get tired of ECBP. It is very easy drinking, and a bottle can go very quickly. You can never own too much of it.

Another great thing about ECBP is that the batches are almost all wonderful. Batch # 4 was the only one which seemed to me noticeably below the standard of the others of the six or seven I have sampled.

I expect Elijah Craig Barrel Proof to get scarcer, more expensive, and maybe be discontinued before too long. Store it away if you can.

7 years ago 1Who liked this?

Nozinan commented

Sipping today from a bourbon glass, a small pour from a bottle sourced for me by @Victor, I was concentrating on something else and took just a little too much too fast.

The result was choking, spluttering and hoarseness for a couple of hours. I had to pour out my glass (into a small "to save" vial, of course, can't waste this).

This is powerful stuff. I think I've learned it commands attention when brought anywhere near the lips!

5 years ago 1Who liked this?