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Elijah Craig 12 Year Old Barrel Proof

ECBP Batch # 6: Bold and Austere

0 690

@VictorReview by @Victor

6th Feb 2015


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

The reviewed bottle of Elijah Craig Barrel Proof is from the sixth batch released, at 70.1% abv. Previous batches were at, 67.1% (#1), 68.5% (#2), 66.6% (#3), 66.2% (#4), and 67.4% (#5). The whiskey was sampled and evaluated when the bottle was first opened, after 4 days, and after 14 days. I have decided to do this particular review in both sequential and in non-sequential time formats, because I feel that in this case the contrast in review styles will be very revealing

Colour: very dark; Elijah Craig Barrel Proof is some of the darkest whiskey you will ever see

Sequential format:

Nose: without water, the nose started out astringent, tannic, and understated on Day 1. By Day 14 without water the nose had become fuller, strongly wood spicey, moderately rye spicey, and remained very dry. With 3-5 drops of water, beginning on Day 1 and continuing throughout, the nose was much fuller, much stronger, rounder, sweeter, and better balanced with additional vanilla. By Day 4 I would place the pitch of this water-added nose at G on the lower half of the treble Clef, which is to say, Mezzo-soprano

Taste: without water, on Day 1 strong, tannic, and slightly astringent; wood spice fairly screams at you. By Day 14, the tannins had relaxed somewhat and translated the fuller Day 14 nose flavours well. Starting from Day 1 and continuing, the addition of water makes Batch # 6 richer, sweeter, more rounded, and more balanced

Finish: without water, moderately long and intense on Day 1, ending on tannic wood; by Day 14 the finish without water is long, intense, with a slow tone-down, and remains fierce and tannic. With water, beginning on Day 1 and throughout, astringent tannic wood is still the dominant theme on the finish, but it is mellowed somewhat and within enjoyable parameters

Balance: Without any water, this is a very austere whiskey. This is near the upper limit of acceptable wood tannins for me. I rated this, without water at 84 on Day 1, 86 on Day 4, and 88 on Day 14. This one really benefits from some water added. I would go so far as to say this one really needs water for maximum enjoyment. Water tones down the fierceness of this batch, adds sweetness, rounds out the exceptionally pointed flavours, and brings out some additional nuances of flavour, including increasing the perception of both nuances of wood and rye flavours, and in particular increasing the perception of vanilla. This review's recorded detailed scores are those with 3-5 drops of water added. It is interesting to observe that with water added my score for Batch # 6 came out to 90 points during all three tasting sessions

  • *

Non-Sequential format (SQVH): (with water)

Strength: the flavours are every bit as intense and pile-driving as you would typically expect from 70% ABV whiskey. Batch # 6 is fantastic for intensity lovers. Score: 25/25 pts

Quality: all of the flavours present are quite nice, with just a little more tannin than I would prefer, especially on the close. Score: 23/25 pts

Variety: this is the weak suit for this batch. The flavours are limited, especially with regards to sweetness. There is not the richness which some other batches of Elijah Craig Barrel Proof have. Batch 1, 67.1% ABV, and Batch 3, 66.6% ABV, for example, have much more lushness and many more nuances, than does Batch # 6. Score: 20/25 pts

Harmony: the flavours work fine together. You just wish that there were some more of them. Score: 22/25 pts

Total Score: 90/100 pts

Summation: the 70.1% ABV Batch # 6 of Elijah Craig Barrel Proof will delight intensity buffs, aka Big Flavours lovers. The range of flavours is not as full or as lush as is that of some of the other batches of Elijah Craig Barrel Proof, but this is still a very enjoyable high-intensity bourbon. I strongly recommend adding water

(This one has characteristics which I feel may very well evolve in very positive ways with more and more air exposure. It is very tight now. Additional air may make it more flabby, which could be a very good thing in this case)

Related Elijah Craig reviews


JasonHambrey commented

I've always wanted to try this one - always nice to see how many releases (availabity is another matter) of cask strength bourbons there are.

@Victor, in your reviews, your sequential/non-sequential scores often come out the same. If I were doing that style, I feel they wouldn't unless I doctored them. So, I'm curious, do you doctor them to make them come out the same?

5 years ago 0

Victor commented

@JasonHambrey, I don't rigidly expect that the review scores for my reviews of the same whisky in differing formats will be identical using the three different review formats I have employed. I do check them against one another, and if they can justifiably be rectified to match, then I do match them. Why make any attempt at all to have them the same? Because I think that giving a whisky a single score without breaking it down into sub-components is a legitimate way to grade, and if that number means anything, it should be capable of being arrived at by differing legitimate methods, each of which does break down the component parts of the score. The primary rationale AGAINST the scores being identical or very close on a regular basis, in my mind, is difference of opinion whether each of the component parts of the review should be equally weighted, or not. So, in practice, when I review in two formats what I do is to do the complete review in one format, then the other, then compare the two, and use the differences to question whether or not any of the ratings should be re-considered. In the case of ECBP Batch # 6 I was content to have the review numbers equal out. I don't rule out doing reviews in which they are not the same.

5 years ago 0

JasonHambrey commented

@Victor well said. It's a nice comprehensive way of reviewing. Sometimes I wonder if giving an overall grade and then dividing up the components is better, as I still keep changing my mind on my own weighting schemes as they don't always seem to match the final number I want to give a whisky (though, in most cases, they do).

5 years ago 0

MaltActivist commented

@Victor Not sure if you've done these multi-format reviews before but this is the first time I'm reading one. It is absolutely beautiful. I'm going to shamelessly steal your SQVH method and start employing it to my reviews from now on. I think I'll start getting more balanced scores. Thanks, as usual, for sharing your excellence with us!

5 years ago 0

Victor commented

@MaltActivist, thank you very much. Nothing would please me more than to see you, and others, try out the non-sequential review format. For me SQVH gives a very useful lens through which to observe a whisk(e)y. I am delighted that you can appreciate its merits.

I have done some others in this format. I started the non-time-sequential format in my review of Royal Canadian Small Batch. In that review, I posted the review in three separate formats. The third format, a Component Elements Evaluation Format, is explained within the text of that review.


5 years ago 0

Victor commented

Adding enough water to reduce this to 45-60% abv brings out an enormous amount of oak-wood flavour...very good oak-wood flavour.

5 years ago 0

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