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Elijah Craig 18 Year Old

Average score from 7 reviews and 29 ratings 88

Elijah Craig 18 Year Old

Product details

  • Brand: Elijah Craig
  • Bottler: Unknown
  • ABV: 45.0%
  • Age: 18 year old

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@MuddyFunster
Elijah Craig 18 Year Old

Bottle from Milroys in London. Price was £155 ish. That's pretty high when one considers BTAC is around £125 RRP in the UK. Price all over the UK is £155-165.

Colour is pale brown, not as dark as I'd expect for an 18 year old.

Nose is sublime. Red fruit dominating with lots of cherry, Bakewell tart, almonds, cranberry, slight orange, big vanilla, dusted icing sugar, moderate fresh white oak, then caramels and muscovado sugars and subtle mint, subtle herb. Rich grapey vinous corn oils in the nose.

Taste isn't quite up to the nose. Little hard and astringent, strong oak wood, any stronger and it would be too much, some of that cherry and Bakewell tart, almond, vanilla, spice, subtle mint, subtle herb.

On the finish the wood is strong, with the mint and herb coming through a little more. With icing sugar and caramel. Softens out with the vinous corn sweetness, but the wood is maybe a little too astringent.

Very good though.

@MuddyFunster, thanks for your nice review.

Even price competitive Heaven Hill has figured out that they can price their top 3% of distillate up several notches from what they did in 2011. Add the mark-up for overseas distribution and it becomes very expensive indeed. It is sad what has happened to the pricing of age statement whisk(e)y.

I haven't yet tasted any of the barrels of the Elijah Craig 18 yo from the new distillery. I am eager to. I suspect that the idiosyncracies of any individual, i.e.'single', new oak barrel would be much exaggerated given a full 18 years of aging. I know that there have been some significant variations in barrels also from the old distillery, which burned down in 1996.

I would also be interested to hear from you if you notise any significant shifts in the flavours from your bottle with air exposure.

Cheers!

I would love to try this one.ECBP and Elijah Craig 12 are two of my favourite bourbon but I'm just not prepared to pay 155 pounds for it.As MuddyFunster says I could get a bottle of BTAC for 125 pounds or 2 Four Roses Limited Editions for about 160 pounds. A bit of a shame really!

@MaltActivist

This is Part 2/5 of a recent Heaven Hill tasting I attended where I tried five bourbons. I also had the chance to meet their international representative Mr. Henry Joe.


This exceptional bourbon from Heaven Hill Distilleries is from a single barrel (the Scotch equivalent of single cask) and has spent 18 years in one place becoming sexy. This was one of the first bourbons I had ever tasted and I was hooked!

Nose: Beautifully creamy and elegant. There's french toast and toffee apples dipped in dark honey with a side of gorgeous vanilla infused roasted carrots.

Palate: The creaminess continues with a chocolate waffle and cherries mixture. But the balanced spices are what makes this special. Black pepper, cloves and cumin all come wonderfully together in tiny pinpricks.

Finish: Long with an oily oakiness and mild spices.

This is truly an exceptional bourbon and one of the oldest I've drunk. And let me tell you something. There was a fire 18 years ago at the distillery which wiped out most of the stock so don't expect a new batch of 18 year olds coming out any time soon.

A lovely bourbon indeed...too bad that the Elijah Craig 18 yo has almost completely vanished and a few bottles of the original stock aged 20 and 21 years have taken its place, at several times the previous price of the 18 yo.

My local county stores have not had any Elijah Craig 18 yo on the shelves for about 2 years now, BUT I see an online inventory item listing "Elijah Craig 18YR Bourbon 2015" which seems to be awaiting inventory stock. I assume that Elijah Craig 18 yo 2015 must be distillate from the new distillery.

Great review as usual tabarakRazvi! I was quite excited to read it because I picked up a bottle of this just yesterday. I wasn't aware of the lack of stock for this whisky. There are a couple more bottles sitting on some shelves around town... Perhaps I should grab them as well?...

n

from a purchased sample (Barrel 3416)

Nose: Butterscotch, toffee, and a healthy dose of oak. Honey, and then some of the rye comes out in grain and spearmint. Cloves as well. Brown sugar and just a little vanilla, suggesting spicy cinnamon cookies. Ginger, anise, and more mint. Just a touch of cherry and apple. The tannic oak firms up a bit with time as well.

Palate: An oddly, though refreshing, sweet and sour entry. Vanilla creme flan and buttermilk. Some honey and silken syrup. It turns quickly to soft clove, cinnamon, and nutmeg. At the end, it passes more into sweet rye and fresh mint, though this is not minty, just distinct. Fairly strong oak presence, but seems relatively well balanced.

Finish: The mint, some rye grain, and the same syrupy quality. The oak is there, just less present. An older, gentle bourbon. I like this, and they've done a nice job keeping this aged number in check. It could use more oomph. It's great that a bourbon this old isn't over-oaked, but I still expect more complexity or character from something like this. This seems more like the sort of thing that you could find at a younger age and for much less money.

@Victor, no doubt that there have been some gems under this label, and it's all down to barrel variation. You can tell that they did a nice job selecting the cask to make sure that it wasn't overoaked, but this one just didn't have much else going on.

The barrels vary, of course. I almost cried when I finished my first bottle of barrel # 2726 Elijah Craig 18, it was so good. You would have loved that bottle, @numen.

@Onibubba

Friday night I had the opportunity to sample a bottle of Elijah Craig 18. Have not seen one of these before. Barreled 11-25-90. Barrel 3491. Bottle was at about a quarter full. Pour was priced at 9.50, which I felt was a steal.

Nose was heavy and masterful. An awful lot going on: Salted nuts, cooked butter, french toast, burning sugars, carmel. Yellow cake, even cornbread.

Taste was almost sherry like. Raisins. Vanilla, yes, but very little oak or wood. Not much spice at all. There is an almost Speyside level of sweetness going on here. Something meaty too - brisket and sweet and sour sauce. Honeysuckle...Can I say rotting, rancid honeysuckle? That sounds bad, but I want to stress "overly ripe." Fabulous.

Mouthfeel was wonderful. Not drying in the least. No wood tannins. No bitterness. Very, very rich.

Finish is long. Final notes were "sweet honeycomb."

This was a great experience. The bartender did not know how long the bottle had been open, but I suspect a while. That may have had something to do with the smoothness of this particular bottle? All I know is if I should see a bottle in the wild, it will be mine. Highly recommended.

Very nice review. This is the distillate from the old Heaven Hill distillery in Bardstown, which burned down November 7, 1996. A little over a year ago Heaven Hill stopped bottling Elijah Craig 18 yo and diverted what remained of the distillate for bottling as Elijah Craig 20 and 21 yo special releases. The old Elijah Craig Bardstown juice has a status now similar to Stitzel-Weller juice: scarce and in demand. The Elijah Craig 12 YO has now for quite a few years been completely different juice. Finding a bottle of EC18 now is a matter of dusty-bottle hunting. And hopefully it will not have been marked up for current scarcity and demand.

@GotOak91, I did see one listing today on the non-pay-subscription version of wine-searcher.com for EC18. The pay-subscription version might have a few more. For more chat about EC18, take a look at my review of it and the comment trail.

@MaltActivist

I can't get over how good bourbon is for the soul. Smooth and satisfying nose full of chocolate and leather. A little subdued on the palate for my liking (I like my bourbons to kick me in the face). Unmistakable oaky fruits and tobacco on the palate. Medium to long dry finish. Extremely accomplished drink named after a Baptist preacher.

@Victor

This is a review of Elijah Craig 18 year old rye mashbill bourbon, single barrel # 2726, barreled 9-14-90. Elijah Craig is a brand distilled at the Heaven Hill Distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky. Elijah Craig was an actual historical preacher/distiller who has some mythos associated with his reputation, such as the invention of the use of charring of barrels for bourbon whiskey aging. In addition to the 18 year old single barrel expression there is also an Elijah Craig 12 year old bourbon.

Heaven Hill is a large family-owned independent distiller with many associated bourbon brands, including Evan Williams, Henry T. McKenna, Fighting Cock, Old Fitzgerald, and Parker's Heritage Collection. Heaven Hill ryes include the Rittenhouse line and Pikesville Supreme. Heaven Hill also sources whiskey to a large number of independent bottlers, who bottle product under their own brand labels.

Nose: Pleasant fragrant sweet maple, honey, rosewater,carnations, vanilla, and a little caramel. This is a delicious nose, and is quite similar to the nose of many of the best Willett Single Barrel bourbons.

Taste: Sweet, sharp, crisp well-defined sweet maple and oak. This is high-pitched and pleasant, not dull and heavy as long oak-aging can often be. Strong rye spice flavours develop and reveal themselves after about 4-6 seconds. The taste is piquant and well-defined, like a good cognac.

Finish: the flavours stay strong and long with all elements remaining until the end.

Balance: the balance between grain flavours and wood flavours, and also between sweet flavours and tart sour flavours, is excellent. I have had this bottle open for about 2 years, mainly because I like it so much that I don't want to see the end of it. In that time I have seen very little migration or shift in its flavours, compared to many other whiskies, and especially compared to many other bourbons, which often shift flavours quite a lot with an open bottle. The full desirable flavours from this whiskey were available from the first opening of the bottle. This is a single barrel product, so there will be variability between its flavours and that of the bottles of other individual barrels named Elijah Craig 18 yo. In 2005-2006 there was a lot of on-line chatter about some early bad bottles in this series. That was a long time ago and I have not encountered that problem with recent reports from others who have tried this whiskey. I would highly recommend this whiskey to anyone. It is one of the most elegant and refined bourbons I have encountered, and is also very good value for its usual price point.

Wow @Victor ... a 30 minute response, and a tasting upon request ! :) BTW, my EC18 is from barrel 2819, bottled 3/1/91, at $42 USD. Looks like you are in a rye mood today (well, as usual :)) ... EC18 and ERare 17 both seem to have a high rye mashbill. And you know, these all seem to get better after several sips ... just had a lovely sip of the sweet EC18.

Finally, note that Jeffersons Reserve has a dry and nutty character, which I love, and has quite different genes from the pricey Pres Select, for which the jury is still in tasting.

Thanks for the impromptu tasting, which I know was above and beyond the call .. :)

@AboutChoice, I am not in possession of any of the Jefferson's expressions, and though I may have tasted the Jefferson's 15 once, I don't remember it well enough to comment. Also, I have tasted the Noah's Mill repeatedly, but don't own a bottle. That said, I will now do a 'live' retasting of Pappy Van Winkle 15, George T. Stagg (2010), Vintage 17 bourbon, Eagle Rare 17 (2010), and Elijah Craig 18 just for you. Done. They all taste good. Such excellent bourbons! In the current mood I am in, I am most enjoying the Elijah Craig 18 and the Eagle Rare 17. On balance, the one I usually crave the most and the most frequently here is the Pappy Van Winkle 15 (I snagged a bottle today, coincidentally). Normally I would prefer them in roughly this order: PVW15,Stagg,EC18,Eagle Rare 17, Noah's Mill, Vintage 17. I wish I could taste your Vintage 17 to see whether mine is very similar. Your bottle could be better than mine.

@dougwatts

A lovely complex dram that isn't trying too hard at anything, but does everything it is doing very well.

Nose is, for me, classic bourbon. A pretty strong alcohol whiff but not too overpowering. Lots of brown sugar and vanilla. Caramel too. It’s smooth and mellow, and quite woody. In the mouth it is big and rich. Toasted almonds, frying butter and more burnt brown sugar. There’s a hint of ginger in there too. The finish is only short to medium. Perhaps slightly disappointing, but nicely warming. Vanilla dominates.

If the finish was a bit longer and stronger I’d be scoring this more highly but I still rate it as areally good bourbon. It is subtle and very well balanced, pretty complex with lots going on. I’ll drink and enjoy it often but for all its pleasantness, it just lacks a little bit in the ‘wow’ factor for my money.

I have a bottle of the Elijah Craig 18 yr that is terrific and which I would rate a 9.0. That said, I have read many reviews of this single barrel issue going back about 5 years and there has been apparently a great deal of variation from barrel to barrel over the years, with some getting very low marks from reviewers. I am very hopeful that when I finally finish my current much beloved bottle of this that the next one compares nearly as well. The mashbill of Elijah Craig is with rye, but a low rye content for a rye-containing bourbon. When I do tasting presentations I use this one as an example of what happens when corn (maize) is aged, since it is very hard to find an aged corn whiskey (80+% corn mashbill, and hopefully no rye to distract if you want to taste the corn). Unaged corn whiskey (eg Georgia Moon) is very sour tasting. The sweetness has to come from the US new wood barrels. Nota bene: Laphroaig Quarter Cask is sweet because of its much increased wood exposure. As a side note about Elijah Craig, I would take the 18 yr old anytime way over the 12 yr old, since I have seen some issues with a "soapy" finish on the 12 yr.

Cheers OJK, it's a lovely drop, though I've actually never had the 12 yr old to compare. And you could start a whole discussion about bottle shapes on here I'm sure! The Greenore 8yr old single grain is a personal favourite...

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