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Elijah Craig 18 Year Old

A well balanced old bourbon

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@dougwattsReview by @dougwatts

11th Jul 2010


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

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.

Related Elijah Craig reviews


OJK commented

Nice review - sounds like a mighty fine bourbon, Elijah Craig 12 is already a regular on my shelf. I have to say as well as a superficial side point that the 18 is damn good looking bottle!

13 years ago 0

dougwatts commented

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...

13 years ago 0

OJK commented

I agree, the greenore is one of the favourites in my collection for pure looks. I'd say my ultimate favourite though is the Lagavulin 16, closely followed by the Bailie Nicol Jarvie. Beauty outside and within!

13 years ago 0

Victor commented

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.

13 years ago 0

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