Elijah Craig 12, Small Batch

Elijah Craig 12Elijah Craig 12 is a classic, affordable ($25 and below) and easy to find bourbon. It is somewhat unusual, I suppose, in being popular with both bourbon geeks and regular drinkers. It is bottled in small batches by the Heaven Hill distillery in Kentucky and is made, I believe, from a not-particularly high rye mashbill. I have tried and enjoyed it a number of times before but this is my first time paying close attention to it.

Elijah Craig 12 (47%; from a sample received in a swap)

Nose: Maple syrup, caramel, cinnamon. Classic bourbon nose. Little bit of orange peel as well. More vanilla as it sits. Very well balanced. Gets dustier with time. Not very woody. A few drops of water bring the caramel closer to toffee.

Palate: More oak on the palate certainly but it emerges after the caramel, cinnamon and clove and a bit of cola pass through. Not a whole lot of change with time. With water the oak gets pushed back a bit and there’s more of a mocha note now. I just wish there was a little more texture/depth.

Finish: Medium. The spices and the oak linger. With more time I get more rye on the finish.

Comments: I like the nose much more than the palate but this is very nice–better with some water, I think. I wish the companies that own the Scottish distilleries (to say nothing of the Japanese) could give us whisky of this quality at this price. It does seem like there is a much smaller jump in quality from $20 to $80 in bourbon than there is in single malt Scotch–and some might say that bourbon is dodgier at the $80+ end of the market than closer to the $20 end. Granted I’m no bourbon maven, but I could be happy drinking Elijah Craig 12 and Old Weller Antique and not much else. Will things remain this way for long? I really enjoyed the Elijah Craig 18 that I got to try a couple of years ago but that disappeared and was replaced by a 20 yo that cost three times as much.

Rating: 84 points.

Thanks to Bryan F. for the sample.

One thought on “Elijah Craig 12, Small Batch

  1. i’d drink this over the heritage hope anyday. the cheapest best goto bourbon around along with the four roses single barrel when on sale. great solo, with a cube, or via old fashioned or manhattan.


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