Bourbon week continues. On Monday I had a review of the 2021 release of the George Dickel Bottled in Bond; today I have for you a review of an Elijah Craig Small Batch that was bottled for Spec’s in Houston a couple of years ago. I’ve only reviewed two Elijah Craigs before this: the old 12 yo Small Batch (which used to be very reasonably priced and is now gone bye-bye); and the Elijah Craig 18 (which has never been reasonably priced and is still around). You will not be shocked to hear that the current Elijah Craig Small Batch has no age statement. Well, I suppose in this time of bourbon market insanity we should consider it a minor miracle that the NAS version doesn’t cost twice as much as the old 12 yo did; in fact, it seems to cost about the same (at least in Minnesota where it is available for $25). Now as to whether this store pick is very different from the regulation release, I have no idea. If I like this maybe I’ll pick up a regular Small Batch and see what that’s like.
Elijah Craig Small Batch (47%; for Spec’s; from a bottle split)
Nose: Toasted oak, cold black tea, mint, sage. Some caramel on the second sniff and below it some cherry. Sweeter here too as it goes. With a couple of drops of water the caramel lightens to toffee.
Palate: Comes in more herbaceous than on the nose and then the oak hits as I swallow. Comes in a bit blank and thin but then after a beat there’s a good bite and the texture seems to improve. Sweeter on the second sip (with a bit of corn syrup) and generally as indicated by the nose; a little leafier maybe. The pepper from the finish pops out earlier with time. Brighter with a few drops of water with some orange peel showing up; the herbs recede
Finish: Long. The oak—resolving to menthol—and the cold black tea lead the way here and then there’s some peppery bite. As it sits there’s a nice hit of char that shows up as well. Less char and more acid here with water.
Comments: This is very nice indeed: a pretty classic bourbon profile. A solid choice for everyday sipping.
Rating: 86 points.