Whisky Connosr
Menu
Shop Join

Elijah Craig 12 Year Old

Average score from 26 reviews and 102 ratings 84

Elijah Craig 12 Year Old

Product details

  • Brand: Elijah Craig
  • Bottler: Unknown
  • ABV: 47.0%
  • Age: 12 year old

Shop for this

What next?

  • Add to cabinet
  • Add to wish list
@markjedi1
Elijah Craig 12 Year Old

Legend has it that Elijah Craig is the ‘inventor’ of bourbon. Historical proof says otherwise, but that does not hold the bourbon industry back – with Heaven Hill in the lead – to keep this legend alive. Every bourbon needs a good story, right? The Elijah Craig 12 is no longer in production. It was replaced by a NAS version. Pity, for this is a very nice and accessible bourbon.

Nice, round, sweet nose on caramelized orange peel, candied sugar, toffee apples, baked pears with cinnamon and a lovely touch of oak. Something dusty even, as if I am sniffing this in the attic. Molded wood and leather kick in. Very pleasant indeed.

Wonderfully round, sweet and soft. Less spicy than I remember; Some pepper, cinnamon and wood, but it’s the oranges and pears that reign. The caramel is never far off, making it a touch sticky, but not so much that it is a nuisance.

The finish is neither short, nor long, but does leave the mouth completely dry, despite the fruity start.

It has only been a year or two since I last tried this one, but this recent batch is much nicer than the previous one.

M

Admittedly, I’m probably a little biased towards this one. For me, bourbon was typically that sickly sweet corn flavored liquid that tasted the same across most brands. Elijah Craig 12 was the bourbon which changed all that, it opened my eyes and made me realize how ignorant I’ve been towards anything that wasn’t scotch. Fast forward a few years, when I heard that Elijah Craig was eliminating the 12 yr in favor of an NAS expression, I desperately searched high and low to stockpile as much as I could, cursing myself for not doing this sooner... spending a fairly large sum of money in doing so. So the rhetorical question I have now - What’s dumber - not knowing what a gem this is or spending the embarassingly high amount of money that I did to ensure that I have enough of this whisky to last me... well a fairly long time? Bah, who needs money.... or wives.

Nose: corn, vanilla, new furniture woodiness, brown sugar, leather jacket. Hint of rye spice Has a nice bit of syrupiness. Lots going on here and it’s all quite nice. Sweetness, but not overbearing. I’m fairly taken with this nose.

Palate: Silky and soft texture. Pleasant oak and thanksgiving spices. Corn, Honey, cinnamon, alcoholic raisins, This is as if a dessert cake paired with a Starbucks latte (the latte flavor - caramel mixed with possibly a pump of the pumpkin spice... perhaps it’s just nutmeg?) decided to hug your tongue.

Finish: hmm. There’s something that reminds me of a fine cognac, bit of coconut, some oiliness is kicking in. Pleasant, lingering, tasty oak. I wish I could go out and lick some oak and find that it tasted this good.

I’m going to finish this like I’m going to finish.... a cheesecake. This is yummy. Shame on the producers for not wanting to bottle this anymore. I have a lot of questions for you. Number one, How dare you?

Great review. I've yet to try this one, but the ECSB is the best under $30 bourbon on the market.

@WtoW Old Grandad 50% bottled In bond (I'll let you Google the meaning) is delicious. Not sure about Calgary but in Nashville it's readily available for $20usd. Agree with @Nozinan you should try it.

m

This is a bottle from my collection that I purchased years ago. The only reason I'm drinking it is because I noticed the fill level was decreasing, indicating the cork wasn't doing its job. Can you believe this was once $24.99? Good stuff.

Nose: A nice layered combination of oak, beer malt, herbal dill, cinnamon, sweet fruits (apricots and apples), and vanilla. There's some alcohol present but the smell is intense enough to not make it an issue.

Taste: Gentle arrival with bitter oak, dill, leather, and vanilla. It has a nice light velvety mouthfeel with a steady low temperature warmth that reminds me of some desert wine like a sauternes. It's well balanced. There are no off-putting or dominant flavors.

Finish: Here you can really taste the maltiness. Big fruity beer malt notes as well as a nice balance of leather, dill, and vanilla oak. The finish reminds me of some belgium ales such as a quad. Fruity, malty, herbal, oaky, goodness.

I have recently tried the NAS small batch and I have to say, it just doesn't compare to this. This is complex and interesting where as the NAS is just sweet and oaky, but not much else. I know for a fact this is still available in some European markets such as Germany, so don't hesitate to get one if you should come across some EC12.

@masterj, thank you for a very nice review for a very nice bourbon! Some batches of EC 12 YO are spectacular and it appears that your reviewed bottle is from one of those spectacular batches.

I too had concerns about the fill level on a recently opened Elijah Craig 12 YO bottle. Down into the basement I went to fetch all of the EC bottles which I had recently bunkered. Upon examining the fill levels of eight bottles, I determined they were not losing liquid. The fill level on all of these bottles did not reach into the neck cavity. For me, this had created an impression of low fill. The bottles in my possession have been filled six years or less.

I have provided a pic of four bottles, two ECBP 12 YO and two of the formerly standard core offering EC 12 YO...I hope this helps. The levels on all four are similar. The last two bottles I have opened both have good fitting corks that continue to produce a "pop" when puled from the bottle...I have learned not to twist a cork when pulling the stopper from the bottle (not nearly as much fun)...a substandard cork or stopper will fail more easily when twisted...that's another topic worthy of discussion.

@paddockjudge All your bottles look fine. EC12 normal fill level is at the lower taper in the neck like the bottle that's the 2nd from the left in your pic. Usually the first sign your losing some content is a small void develops right at that point. See image below.

@markjedi1

Legend has it that the Reverend Elijah Craig, a local pastor from Virginia, is the ‘father of the bourbon’. He is said to have built his distillery in 1789. Today, this bourbon is distilled at Heaven Hill. This 12 Year Old is the best known of the brand. A 12 years old bourbon is rather exceptional, actually. Most bourbons spend less years in a cask.

Quite some fruit (caramelized oranges and fresh apples), caramel and a touch of oak. Brown sugar and vanilla join early. A hint of leather. The whole is well integrated. Nice nose.

Good body with an early spiciness. Black pepper and cinnamon. Then the fruit kicks in. Pleasantly sweet. Toasted oak gives it some depth. Caramel turns into butterscotch.

The finish is rather short with mostly the oak and spices that linger. It leaves the mouth dry.

Those 12 years of maturation have made this nicely round, if you know what I mean. In that sense, this is value for money.

PS. This is no longer available in the States. It was replaced by a NAS version.

This is still available in Canada, though we expect the shelves to be restocked with NAS. I bought one but I'm not sure why. When you have one bottle and it can't be replaced, when do you open I? I suppose it will be when I'm tasting with someone who specifically likes EC12 YO and misses it.

If you like the profile I suggest you try ECBP 12 year. This is an excellent CS bourbon.

I've been searching for the EC 12 yr without any luck.

Now all I can find is the EC Small Batch with no age statement.

@Nozinan

This review comes about after I read a review by @Angelmonster. I had a sample thanks to @Paddockjudge, and it was interesting to taste a bourbon for the first time after freshly reading someone else's impression of it. I decided to come back to the second half of the sample tonight and decided to turn it into a review.

Batch A13852245 47%

Nose: Vanilla, butterscotch, with modified Ashok manoeuvre it brings out a complex fruity aroma with pineapple. Evokes memories of Amrut single (Bourbon) Cask. 22/25

Taste: Not as sweet as some other bourbons. A little thin in mouthfeel, but not weak in flavour. Compared to something at higher AVB the flavours feel a little lighter and more subtle. There is vanilla, some fruit, and a slight spiciness. 21/25

Finish is short, not too remarkable, a little astringent. 21/25

Balance. The nose and palate complement each other nicely. 21/25

Total Score 85/100

This is a pleasant whisky. On days when something higher strength might be a bit too much, I might find myself reaching for this if I want bourbon. I can see someone trying this and imagining the heights it could reach if it were bottled at cask strength.

Luckily, I’ve tried EC Barrel Proof and it is quite delicious.

Looks like a lot of people in Ontario agree with you. The place where I bought mine had 6 and is down to 1 2 days later, and stocks are dwindling across Ontario.

Burlington and Ancaster have a few but Hamilton is out. Let me know if you need me to try to round some up for you.

I believe I will stock up on this while the LCBO has a glut of the 12 yr age statement left.

A

This bourbon is copper colored and has long slow running legs.

Nose is full of sweetness; honey, molasses, maple syrup. Vanilla, nutmeg, and oak round out the aromas. For 47% abv, alcohol is subtle.

Taste is slightly harsher than nose. Corn is apparent, spice notes of tobacco, cinnamon, and charred oak are also present. Bourbon finishes with some vanilla and an alcohol burn.

Finish is very warm with a nice viscous coating of the tongue and slight burn on the roof of the mouth.

Overall balance of this whisky was good, nice combo of a sweet nose and a spicy taste. Rather quaffable for 47% but the main draw for this bourbon is the price point. Extremely hard to come by a better whisky for 30 bucks.

Inspired by this review, and knowing that this whisky is currently available at LCBO for (at least here) the reasonable price of $46 Canadian, I'm currently sipping on the sample of batch A13852245 courtesy @paddockjudge, deciding whether I need to add this to my repertoire.

After sip number 1, NO.

After sip #10, I'm on the fence. I think I like it better than my Col E H Taylor. It's not quite as good as I remember my OGD114 being but at 47% a little more tame.

I don't know if I get all the elements you describe, but I think I can catch quite a few.

To me this ranks in the mid 80s. If I were doing a quick score I'd give the nose 21, taste 21, finish 21-22 and balance 22 for 85-86. Not a subtle whisky, not too complex, but bold and extremely flavourful.

@Angelmonster, two comments:

1)value for money evaluations confuse many people because the money paid is highly variable, and most people outside of the US will not be able to buy Elijah Craig 12 for US prices. A score ignoring cost is more universally useful.

2) on Connosr, a score of 81 usually means, to most people, "just ok, mediocre, bordering on undesirable". An 81 score will lead many to not even reading the review, much less believing the whiskey to be "great".

@MuddyFunster

So I came to Elijah Craig 12 in a bar and was very pleasantly surprised. So I bought myself a bottle. This has been opened 6 months or so.

Colour is tawny amber,

Nose: Not multi-dimensional, but very big on oak and vanilla backed up by caramel, brown sugar, a very big sweet wine Sauternes vinous sweetness which is very nice, slightly honey-ish, black pepper, and at the very back of it there's some peach, white grape, wood smoke. The alcohol is strong in the nose too.

Taste: quite hot, then there's sweet Sauternes vinous, lots of oak, softened by vanilla, caramel, brown sugar, honey, spice, ground black pepper, rye spicy, cedar wood.

Finish: very oaky, vanilla, spice, little dry, not particularly long.

Overall this feels surprisingly young for a 12 year old. I've tasted this alongside Weller 12, and that just has so much more complexity a aged softeness. But EC has a very nice sweet vinous quality which gets it noticed above others and big bold oaky flavours. A nice house Bourbon, but maybe not pushing beyond that into the big league.

@Phil73805

Legs: Noticeably thinner than a 40% whisky and very slow.

Nose: Very sweet, some varnish in the background, treacle, butterscotch, mango, vanilla. With some air and time cloves start to make a noticeable appearance in the bouquet.

Taste: With water – creamy sweet arrival very much like the nose but with the addition of mouth-watering fruity acidity after the sweet arrival. Spicy – some cinnamon? Cloves!

Finish: lingering sweet and sour, the fruity sourness lingers the longest, cloves.

From a selection of bourbon samples from Drinks by the Dram this is the one that left the deepest impression. I wouldn't describe it as complex in comparison to my developing taste in single malt whisky but it is a very pleasant after dinner bourbon.

@cheeserandyburg

Let me just say that before dipping my nose into this one the colour was quite mesmerizing.

Tasted without any water at 47%.

Nose: Pungent sweet & sour green apples with fudge. A rich and creamy well rounded cloud of syrupy-acidic nutty notes. Some caramel, vanilla and chocolate.

Palate: Flavourful and big. Sourish arrival with green apple, wood, and smoke. A fruity and cherry-esque following, sweet and vibrant on the tongue. Packs a nice smooth, yet sourish spicy punch.

Finish: Bittersweet and dry. Some butterscotch, and creamy notes.

Conclusion: This bottle won't last long, its just that good. The initial tasting had no water. Upon adding a dash of water this opens up to a completely different experience.

With the alcohol cut down, the flavors have more room to expand and complexity with time. A very smooth yet complex easy drinking bourbon. Can’t say it reminds of anything else on the market. It’s got its own character which is very much worth the price. This is a sweet-sour-dry, yet complex bourbon that goes down superbly with a dash of water to open it up to its full potential and development. Highly recommended.

Half a bottle through and while tasting today I got smokey oak and some delicious sweet/sour notes mixing through. Added a generous dash of water and it all came alive in more. This is being bumped from 88 to 90.

@Davy

I'm generally not much of a bourbon guy, but this is one of the best I've sampled, and for $25, it's hard to beat.

The nose is a burst of honey and black cherries, with a medicinal note. Lots of oak on the palate, smooth-bodied and mouth-coating...pleasantly warming with lovely autumnal spices.

@Victor

Sometimes you get a bad bottle...a very bad bottle. This is one of those stories. The reviewed bottle has been open for 4 years and is 2/3rds full. 4 years is a long time for the bottle to be open, you say? Well, this bottle of whiskey is a lot better now than it was 4 years ago

If you read Jim Murray, you know that he hasn't liked Elijah Craig 12 YO in recent years. The Heaven Hill distillery in Bardstown burned to the ground in November 1996. The new distillate for the Elijah Craig 12 YO bourbon has been from a different distillery. The Elijah Craig 18 YO, 20 YO, and 21 YO currently for sale is to date still from the old distillery at Bardstown

Colour: relatively dark

Nose: for 2 consecutive years nothing but soap was perceptible on the nose and palate. With the bottle 2 years open, all of the soap suddenly vanished and there was a bourbon there for the first time, a very tasty bourbon. Four years running, this nose is pretty good: decent spice, caramel, and maple. Score now? 21/25 Overall cumulative review score 18/25 pts

Taste: the good flavours at open 2 years faded within months after that. Score now: 17/25; cumulative score 15/25 pts

Finish: this goes a little shrill with the wood flavours...not too smooth; now 18/25; cumulative 14/25

Balance: not very balanced even when it was good. Now: 18/25; cumulative 15/25. I can't review this now and ignore the fact that this was completely undrinkable for 2 years.

Heaven Hill should be able to improve on the Elijah Craig 12 YO to date. Certainly the cherry-picked barrels of the Elijah Craig 12 YO Barrel Proof version show that they can deliver a delicious product

Summary scores: 10/100 for the first two years; 74/100 now; 86/100 for a brief period at two years bottle open; and 62/100 overall, if and only if you were willing to wait this out. Of course most people would have thrown out the bottle in the first few months it was open

@Taco, oops, my bad...I see that my buddy @Nock got his first ECBP review in a day before I did...although it will probably require a revamped Connosr search engine to find my first ECBP review now, or deep research into my profile page reviews.

Don't I know, @Taco?...I was the first person on Connosr to review Elijah Craig Barrel Proof, have reviewed two batches of it, and own bottles of three batches of it.

@PMessinger
@hunggar

I had heard wonderful things about the Elijah Craig 18 offering and I had intended to buy it quite soon. Unfortunately, the only store that carried it here no longer has any of the older stuff left, so I was forced to settle for the 12. I’ve had this before and didn’t love it, but that was ages ago, before I really got into bourbons. So perhaps my new appreciation for American whisky will improve my opinion of this affordable and widely available offering.

Nose: Syrup. Very sweet. Hints of pine. Some cedar as well. A bit of an alcohol bite, but it’s not unpleasant. There’s a very light, sweet, and gentle vanilla note that’s quite pleasant here. It reminds me of cake icing. Very sweet and reasonably rich nose.

Palate: Vanilla icing, mild rye notes, caramel, crème brûlée, and spice.

Finish: A spicy kick carries us into the now-familiar vanilla icing note. Icing sugar. Pudding. Gentle rye. The wood notes here could be stronger. There’s an interesting cinnamon note that pops up towards the end. Combined with the vanilla icing note, it’s almost reminiscent of a cinnamon bun. As you may have noted, sweetness dominates the finish.

In fact, sweetness dominates this entire dram. There are other standard bourbon notes to be found here. None are of poor quality or in any way unpleasant. Where base wood notes tend to carry many bourbons, the opposite is true here. The high, sweet, vanilla, icing-like note is what carries the EC12. In some ways this is too sweet for me, but the bourbon redeems itself with its mild burn, some lovely spices, and the intrinsic quality of the sweetness. Given its price and availability, you’d want this to be an everyday sipper. However, it may seem a bit cloying if you drink this too often. It’s a time to time dram for me. Is it sweet? Yes. Is it too sweet? Maybe for some. At least if you don’t like it as a sipper, you can always put it on your pancakes. In the end it’s not my favourite, but it is worth trying.

@Megawatt

Nose: thick and sweet, almost soapy but in a good way. Fresh-cut cedar but also woodsmoke. Very rich, mature aroma.

Taste: mouth-filling, spicy, sweet with quite a bit of heat. Very rounded, with lots of oak. A bit sour at the back of the tongue.

Finish: medium, unremarkable.

Balance: I'm no bourbon expert but this is one of the better ones I've tried. Twelve years in new oak have done this whiskey justice.

@GBrough

This was a pickup for a birthday party i had sadly people around my age group cant enjoy bourbon unless they take shots of it.

This is going to be without water in my humble opinion it does not need it, but hey i will give it a shot and i might do another with water we will see.

Nose: I get charred oak, burned sugar, vanilla, spice, dark fruits and a smell that reminds me of coals. Palate: Is robust and strong a nice touch away from the macallan i got a lot of oak, burned sugar, dark fruits like plums, vanilla, rye to balance out the sweet and some maple syrup in there not to much like CR maple just enough to keep your taste buds awake. Finish: Kind of dry with more charred oak, some spices and burned sugar like a creme brulee topping. More character than four roses in my book and about 16 bucks cheaper, i highly recommend it for anyone who wants to get their first leap into bourbon, add water if you need it but the proof keeps it fun for me.

It was very strong, and had more character than elmer t lee in my opinion while i enjoyed elmer it just didnt wow me like this one does most likely because of the cost and quality.

I really like robust bourbons so far, going to try knob creek single barrel next week and write a review.

@sip

Here in WV I only paid 19.99 before tax for it. So you can beat that!

Nose: The nose sweet with fruit, clove, oak, brown sugar, and smaller hint of spice and vanilla.

Taste: The taste is much like the nose but dose have some minor differences. it still has fruit, oak, and clove with some spice to it, but not a lot of spice. I think it is a little smokier than I thought based off the nose, and I taste some rye and nuttiness.

Finish: The finish is sweet but fads to spicy and a little bitter, but still vary enjoyable. The vanilla lingers on lips.

This is one of my go to bourbons because it is smooth, vary vary enjoyable, and not pricey. Also if you a cigar lover a nice medium body cigar gos quite well with it.

I misspelled "taste" in the title

@GotOak91

Rev. Elijah Craig was believed to be the pioneer of bourbon. It was discovered by accident after a distillery fire burned a substantial amount of his American White oak barrels he was using to age his whiskey around 1789. Low on cash to buy new oak barrels he decided to age his whiskey in the least charred barrels he had with which he had no choice but to sell to the local townsfolk. To his surprise it was greatly received by the locals and thus he had begun the quintessential American beverage of Bourbon whiskey. So after a longwinded intro lets see how Heaven Hill honored the pioneer..

Nose: Such a huge and various nose, contains everything a good bourbon should have. Scents of sweet corn, caramel, charred oak, brown sugar, and hints of spice and maybe dried fruits enter the nose.

Body: Medium-heavy and a little pleasant tingling as one performs the Kentucky chew over the tongue yet it very smooth in the realm of dangerous especially at 47%.

Taste: Spicy with rye and cinnamon and the front which slowly turns into a bourbony sweet elixir with corn and brown sugar with a touch of caramel and maple syrup rounding the up end.

Finish: Lingering with continued spicy rye and cinnamon yet very smooth and refined ending absolutely dangerous whiskey.

Overall: I like this whiskey and it seems to compete with whiskies twice its price tag. At $23 it is a borderline impeccable buy especially how well rated it is by expert tasters with Jim Murray being one of them.

@valuewhisky

12 years may be youngish for scotch, but it's OLD for bourbon! Bourbon over 8 years can start to take on some serious oak astringency. For me, I like older bourbons as long as they can deliver the sweetness to counterbalance the hotness of all the oak. Elijah Craig 12 delivers, but just barely.

Nose: Very nice. Oak, Maple syrup, red and orange colored fruits (sorry, specificity lovers). Very good, and something that's worth putting your nose in all evening - pretty rare for under $25.

Palate: A fair bit of astringent oak, but plenty of rich sweetness to balance it. It's a shade on the too-oaky side for me, but not enough for me to not enjoy it. Not the most complex palate, but pleasing all the same. Finish is sweetness and oak, with oak extending beyond when the fading of the sweetness. Elijah Craig has very little of the peppery-spiciness that I associate with high-rye content. It has just enough that you wouldn't really think it's a wheater, but definitely far from high-rye.

Overall, Elijah Craig is solid and enjoyable; something I have no problem pouring a couple times on a weekend. Easily worth its $23 price tag; in fact there are few bourbons under $30 that are better.

@Megawatt

At only 12 years, Elijah Craig is one of the older bourbons offered at the LCBO. The nose offers no surprises: sweet and soft with notes of cherry, woodsmoke, and vegetal bitterness. With water a slightly pungent note emerges. I would describe it as a typical bourbon aroma but with less sharp notes that some younger whiskies.

The flavour matches the aroma but with a more pronounced sugary sweetness. The oak gives a bitter bite, more evident when an ice cube is added. In spite of its strength this whiskey goes down easy. There is a nice interplay between bitter and sweet, fruity and earthy, which balances things nicely.

The taste fades on a slightly sour note. Overall my impression is that this is not as challenging or rewarding as Knob Creek or Eagle Rare, but scores extra points for its drinkability.

@Matthieu

Drunk neat. I find that adding water drowns the rye too easily to put any in this whisky.

Nose: Light. Toasted oak and vanilla with a slight prickling of rye spices.

Taste: Starts cool and sweet, easily filling the palate. The rye gradually takes its place, bringing a slight fruitiness and controlled spiciness. The toasted oak makes a late appearance with some cinnamon.

Finish: A spice wave hits first, though it is well controlled and never harsh. As it fades, it is replaced by a good long warmth. It would be very nice if it stopped there, but it doesn't: a minute after this bourbon has left for better pastures, the coating it left in your mouth strikes. You get a strong taste of red cinnamon candy: those little red hearts you see on Valentine's day.

It was a nice surprise the first time I got it, but now I just want to get a glass of water to wash it down.

Balance: This bourbon is really all about control and balance. It is easily drinkable and its age shows by the roundness and integration of its flavors.

So, will I buy it again? That's a tough question, since it's nowhere near the "value bourbon" I read about or, at least, not here in Québec. At 41.50$, it actually costs a dollar more than Knob Creek, which I believe is the other way around down south (Sour Mash Manifesto has them at $25 and $32 respectively).

I am withholding my decision on my "go to bourbon with rye" when I will have tried Woodford Reserve, Knob Creek and maybe Basil Hayden, which all are in the 40-50$ range here.

@Moose

Color: Butterscotch, hay

Nose: Honeyed ginger, clove

Body: Medium rich, smooth

Taste: Dried wood, smokey, toasted grass

Finish: Lingering, slightly sweet honey, vanilla

Overall: A nice bourbon, easy to sip on, also goes nice on the rocks

@mattberg

The only other Bourbon I have tried is JD (sometime ago now) and although I have been on a Malt Whisky adventure for a couple of years, I don't consider myself well versed in US Whisky.

This is a really interesting offering, at first I tried a couple of measures neat, the first and overriding impression was real freshness: on the nose I smelt something undefined like luxury cologne with pines, apricots, limes, spicy-burnt oranges followed by a rich oily coating of the palate.

With water a fresh oakiness comes out but the nose is still this luxury cologne, with leather and vanilla, smoother oil on the palate with tobacco, bitter oranges and parchment.

For me better neat though.

On the palate this reminds me of a independent bottling I had of Mortlach recently: oily delicate and spicy. On the nose this is truly unique, an extraordinary blend of musk, limes and tobacco.

@dbk

Elijah Craig is one of Heaven Hill’s numerous whiskey brands. The eponymous Baptist minister Craig is reputed to be the “Father of Bourbon” because, as lore—and the promotional pamphlet accompanying the bottle—would have it, he “became the first to age his whiskey in charred oak barrels.” As Chuck Cowdery points out in “Bourbon, Straight”, however, this claim is likely hokum. There is simply no evidence that Craig aged his whiskey in charred oak barrels, and his operation never resided in Bourbon County, where "bourbon" originated. That Craig distilled whiskey is accepted, and his standing as a “holy man” likely lent credibility to the whiskey trade, but he is almost certainly not the Father of Bourbon in any real sense.

Mythology aside, many respect the Elijah Craig label, though there is debate about its consistency. For the sake of precision, then, my bottle code (running clockwise from the top left) is 1 77 42 09. Elijah Craig is distilled from a low-rye mash bill (the same used by the J. T. S. Brown and Evan Williams brands, to name a few), though the rye grain features prominently enough in its profile.

The nose on the Elijah Craig 12 Year-old begins with bold oak, yielding touches of vanilla, apricots, and lemons. It then moves to spicier elements of mustard, grass, cinnamon, and clove. Finally, it surrenders sweeter, almost visceral notes of brown sugar.

The palate is astringent and a bit hot, with spicy rye dominating. It has some depth of character, and departs with an oaky, nutty finish wherein hints of varnish give way to a slight candy-corn sweetness and eventually heat.

I recently received a second bottle of Elijah Craig 12 Year-old as a very thoughtful gift, and I am very pleased to have it, as I am nearly through the one currently open in my bunker.

@OJK

Nose: A curious malted aubergine introduction, followed by cigars and tobacco flavoured bubblegum. Asparagus topped with talcum powder, alongside honey-roast peanuts covered in whipped cream, keeps things no less interesting. A more recognisable fruit dimension then appears, or more specifically succulent tangerines, warm peach crumble, and freshly chopped bananas and strawberries. Turkish delight then sits on a cereal bedding of flapjacks, before warm honey and lemon finally entice us to delve in.

Taste: A full and oily 47% delivery of cigar ashes and stewed peaches. Floating around the palate there is a delicate coating of strawberry jam and shortbread biscuit, or what in england you would call a 'jammy dodger' (a fine biscuit that combines both), before another recognisable confectionary in the shape of lemon Starburst then adds to the carnival of sweetness. Mint humbugs offer a brief and light tingle of complexity, however the italian christmas nougat (Torrone), honey-glazed carrots and maple syrup quickly smother it out and maintain the carnival at Rio-esque proportions.

Finish: The whiskey on the palate is escorted out by candy canes and fruit syrup, before mint and tobacco offer us some brief respite from the orgy of glucose. A rather hurried exit then ensues, leaving a bitter aftermath to the now departed carnival, with only dry orange peel to chew on and some coarse soap to wash away the sticky sugar residue from the palate.

Balance: A slightly uncultured and perhaps even sickly bourbon, yet like all sweets still has you somehow wanting to come back for more. Had the finish maintained the glucose fervour of the nose and palate then we could at least say that this was a consistent onslaught of sweetness that one could respect, and very much allow a time and a place for. I'd say that this is probably still the case, however the brief and soapy finish leaves a bitter aftertaste to what was otherwise a sickly yet paradoxically enjoyable visit to the confectionary shops of our youth.

Hi @Victor, I agree the soap is somewhat a kiss of death, however it remains nonetheless a pleasant bourbon when the mood so fits. I've had my bottle for about a year now and have found it more or less unchanged, which I suppose further complicates the discussion of changes to open bottles, as no doubt each particular bottle in each particular environment will evolve differently. I do also agree with your comments on the Elijah Craig 18, which is a go-to aged bourbon for me, and very much a favourite. I look forward to writing a review of it soon, would be great to compare notes!

@OJK, YES, that kiss of death, the SOAPY FINISH! I was horribly disappointed with my bottle of Elijah Craig 12 yo because I hate that soapy taste. Then, a full TWO YEARS after the bottle was opened the soapy finish was completely gone. So there is hope for your bottle, sort of like there is hope for paying off the mortgage on your house,though. For a discussion of changes in whiskies after the bottles are open, see my review "Old Saz 2010 at 5 Months", which cites this same whiskey among others. Two years later my EC12 tastes like something I had never yet tasted-- and much better. I don't think that you will get any of that soap with the Elijah Craig 18 yo, though. I love mine.

D

Vanilla, and spice cookies galore. Classic bourbon nose with lots of sweetness and spice. The taste is layers of brown sugar, ginger, and vanilla with a decent alcohol burn coming out in the finish.

@Sebrunet

In my opinion, Elijah Craig is close to be what I ultimately desire in a Bourbon. The 12 years old Elijah Craig is strong yet easy through all the process of tasting. I definetly suggets every Bourbon amateur have this one at home for all those hot summer nights....really feel like I'm back in Kentuky or deeper south in a humid US environnement.

i totally agree, this bourbon IS IT for me !!

Popular Elijah Craig whiskies