Elijah Craig Barrel Proof #12 (136 Proof)

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof #12 (136 Proof)

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof is one of the last holdouts of really fantastic, accessible and affordable Bourbon. It is not chill filtered, it’s bottled at barrel proof, it’s 12 years old, and it’s usually easy to find. Even more of a treat for us in Europe. This is the 12th release, bottled at 136 proof in September of 2016, and was the last release in the old-style bottles, around the same time that the age statement was phased out for ECSB.

This is a blind review that was done in a set of 21 blind bourbon (and rye) reviews, tasted in sets of 3 (on different days). None of the whiskies were revealed until all 21 were drunk. More information about this setup in the first review of the series.

1. Old Forester 1920
2. Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch 2017
3. Four Roses Single Barrel OESK (Brookline Liquor Mart pick)
4. Kentucky Owl Rye (batch 1)
5. Weller Antique 107
6. Rowan's Creek
7. Elijah Craig Barrel Proof #12 (136 proof)
8. Old Forester Statesman
9. Michter's 10yo Bourbon
10. Henry McKenna 10yo BiB
11. Weller 12
12. Smooth Ambler Old Scout 7yo
13. Rhetoric 23
14. George T. Stagg 2017
15. Four Roses Single Barrel OBSV (Loch & Key Pick)
16. Maker's 46
17. Jack Daniels Single Barrel Bottled in Bond
18. Little Book “The Easy” (2017)

Distiller: Heaven Hill
ABV: 68%
Age: 12yo
Setting: Blind, in a trio with Old Forester Statesman and Michter’s 10yo

Nose: Dough, light acetone, cut wood furniture, chewy caramel. Red currant, citrus, dried herbs. A little heat. Hot damn that is one hell of a nose!
Palate: Coats the mouth. Creamy caramel with an acetone high lote leads into citrus, and rounds out into…
Finish: …woodsy dough, furniture store, leather and blackcurrant. Flattens to a dry mildly tannic finish with dried herbs and moss.
Overall: This was really enjoyable. Deep, rich and complex wood-forward nose leads into citrus and finishes in the forest. I could drink this all day. I could drink this all week.
Guess: I am pretty sure there’s only a couple of bottles I own that this could be (showing the limits of blind tasting with your own collection I suppose). I have a sneaking suspicion this is GTS 2017, but I sort of hope it isn’t. Cause I want to be drinking this all the damn time. If it’s not GTS, I’d go with ECBP. I don’t have enough taste memory to be able to remember and differentiate them, but I think the ECBP’s acetone note was a little more present.
Rank: 8
Reveal: Well, well. Who’s the winner here? Me. Because this is a replaceable bottle that I can drink as much as I want. Awesome. I suppose this is also a good demonstration of the bias that barrel strength spirits will always have in blind tasting setting. Perhaps I could do a set of blind tastings with everything diluted to an equal 46%?