It is officially the last day of Bourbon Heritage Month. It has been great to see the love for bourbon spread around all forms of social media this month. In honor of this last day, I will be reviewing my favorite bourbon from my list of Top 15 Bourbons Under $75: Elijah Craig Barrel Proof.
This mighty fine tipple comes from the folks over at Heaven Hill who also produce the second-best selling bourbon in the world: Evan Williams Black Label. Heaven Hill has been producing Elijah Craig for many years now (Until recently it carried a ’12 year old’ statement proudly on its front label. However, as age-statement bourbons have been disappearing this one is likely to soon follow as the age-statement has now been moved to the back label).
However, in late 2013 they released the first expression of Elijah Craig Barrel Proof. It was met with rave reviews from all over social media. Google it and you’ll find out just how much this product is loved. Since that time they have release 9 expressions. The expression we examine today is #6 which also happens to be the highest proof released to date. It comes in at a whopping 140.2 proof! It was labeled Hazmat by several reviewers. You can find out more about all of the releases courtesy of Blake over at Bourbonr by going here.
Ever since the first release, I had been wanting to get my hands on a bottle or even a taste. In March, my wife and I were in Washington, D.C. on a business trip and we decided to take the jaunt over to Jack Rose (you must go if you have not been). There list was expansive to say the least (currently they have 2390 whisk(e)ys on the menu). Smack dab in the middle of the list were 2 different Elijah Craig Barrel Proof releases. I ordered the one with the lowest, yet still high, proof (fearing just how off the charts and off the wall the #6 might be). Thankfully, the bartender knew better and the server came back with a pour of the #6. “The bartender vetoed your choice and has sent you this one.”
The bartender was right. This dram blew my socks off! It beat out the 8-year-old Willett Family Estate Rye and the E.H. Taylor Barrel Proof I had later in the evening. I had to get a bottle.
So, when we were in New York City later in the week I stopped by a liquor store to check out their selection. There it was: Elijah Craig Barrel Proof #6. Hazmat. 140.2 proof. The only problem: $80!
While for most barrel proof bourbons this would only be slightly over-priced. ECBP releases usually list for $40-50. A $30 premium left me thinking for a few minutes. I paced back-and-forth. Then I walked over, picked up the bottle, paid the cashier my $80, and walked out into the crisp New York air.
It took some softening the blow of the $80 price tag with my wife. But, at the end of the day it was worth it. I cracked it open as soon as I got back home and have been pleasantly sipping it ever since.
My bottle is nearly empty so now is the time to do a review. How does this tipple rate?
ELIJAH CRAIG BARREL PROOF
Distiller: Heaven Hill
Owner: Heaven Hill
Age: 12 Years Old (Listed on the back label)
ABV: 70.1% (Uncut and Unfiltered)
Release: #6 of 9
Mashbill: 75/13/12 (Corn/Rye/Barley)
Burnt clay. Hazy sunset. Your dad’s old mahogany desk. Rusted metal.
Loads of charred oak. Maple-frosted cinnamon roll. Toffee and caramel. Roasted nuts. Spiced apples. Orange rind. Lovely, deep, dark, and rich.
Cinnamon-coated, caramel-covered, toffee-filled, sugar cookie. Palate coating. Rich and thick. A pleasant yet rich oak towards the end.
Super long. This one lasts for days. Sweet and spicy. Cinnamon and cloves. A very pleasant burn on the lips, tongue, and roof of the mouth. Tons of dark sweets perfectly balanced with the right amount of oak tannins. Coffee cake towards the very end.
The value is not so good on this one. But, that is just the case for the specific bottle. At $80 it is over-priced by $30. At $50 this is a perfectly priced tipple.
A absolutely love this bourbon! This would be rated in the upper 90s if this bottle didn’t cost me $80. If it was easier to find and consistently priced around $40-50 it would be a regular on my bar. Still, I rate this high. I will enjoy the last few drams I have left. Cheers!
95/100 (An Excellent Tipple)