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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.