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Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Bourbon 69.9 ABV Batch 8
Elijah Craig Barrel Proof is a limited release Small Batch bourbon. They hand select a limited amount of barrels that match in flavor profile. This is a twelve year old Bourbon and is bottled without chill filtering. At full Barrel Proof the Bourbon tastes the same as when the Master Distiller does his samples straight from the barrel.
The Rev. Elijah Craig was claimed to have been the inventor of Bourbon whiskey by being the first to age the whiskey in charred oak casks. Elijah Craig Bourbon is produced by Heaven Hill.
Heaven Hill doesn’t rotate their barrels. Barrels are aged in various areas of the warehouse, are then labeled with different labels on them. These labels are specific to location and flavors profiles. Evan Williams and Elijah Craig have the exact same mash bill (78% corn, 12% rye, 10% barley). The only differences between the two expressions are their proofs and where their barrels were aged. The taste of these two whiskies are very different.
This review is of Batch 8. I haven’t had the opportunity to sample any of the other batches, so I’m unable to give a comparison. @Victor, @Nock and a few others have done fantastic job describing how the other batches have performed, highly recommend you read them, I did.
Aroma: Cherry, Caramel, Oak, Little Orange Rind, Powerful
Aroma w/Water: Cherry, Caramel, Oak, Marmalade, Plum, Still Powerful
Taste: Caramel, Sour Cherry, Butter, Pepper and Hot as Hell!
Taste w/Water: Sweet Cherry, Caramel, Vanilla, Custard, Butterscotch, Black Tea and Leather, Black Walnut, Bitter Chocolate
Finish: Layers of flavors on the finish evolve nicely over 10 minutes. I don’t think the finish every faded completely away neat or with water.
Conclusion: I highly recommend that you add water to reduce the proof and open up the flavors. I hardly ever add water to whiskey but in this case it is a Must. When I first tried this neat I was concerned as it is a little one dimensional, like a punch in the nose. After adding water I was amazed at how much this bourbon opened up. Layers and Layers of flavors. This is the strongest whiskey I have ever had, with that much alcohol it can take your breath away. Neat it’s above average (84/100) but with water its outstanding al solid (92/100). I expect that after 6 months the bottle should open and improve, the score might hit 93 or 94. I reserve 95 and above for the future. I enjoyed this so much that I went back and bought the other two bottle, glad they were still there.