Friday, August 12, 2011

Elijah Craig 12 Year Old Whiskey Review:

“About as complete as a bourbon aroma you are likely to find…one of the most beautiful noses found anywhere in the world today. A bourbon to keep in the mouth forever… Toffee apples and malt rise above the gentle oaky notes and there is a very late arrival of burnt sugar and rye. The very final notes are extremely complex… near perfection. Perhaps one of my favorite five or six bourbons and certainly the superstar in the Heaven Hill portfolio. It is a bourbon of almost unfathomable depth and has something for everyone. Brilliant." 

Produced by the privately owned  Heaven Hill, Elijah Craig was originally created by a pioneering Baptist preacher in the 18th century of the same name, many of whom credit as being the first one to use charred oak cask or essentially the person who invented bourbon. Winning numerous awards in the last 10 years and recently winning a Double Gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, Elijah Craig 12 is touted as a “true Small Batch premium Bourbon.” Bottled exclusively from 70 barrels or less this is one of the finest buys for the price on today’s market. This is the spirit RalfyMitchel believes sets the standard as a baseline bourbon.

Elijah Craig 12 Year Old Whiskey Review:

Price: Around 24.99 for a 750ml bottle.

Packaging/Labeling: Nothing fancy, but you will remember the bottle with the uniquely Elijah Craig shape and a large cork top.

Alcohol Content: 46% alcohol by volume, 92 proof.

Color: Dark amber color alludes very well to the character of the whiskey.

Nose: Solid and composite. You get intense corn and a sour caramel apple with dried apricots. Dark charred honey and vanilla bean. Nuts and fruit spices. Lots of complexity here.

Tasting: This has a wonderful arrival which lands rich and direct then amplifying and spreading out off the palette, exploding into a sweet corn and spicy char and pleasant fruit note. There is a slight but agreeable burn which fades with sweet rye dryness – ending with a nice long finish.

Conclusion: This is a very good example and benchmark setting bourbon. Packs a punch and is strong and assertive. Though it is sweeter than I anticipated and to what I am used to. It is on the cusp of being too sweet, but I say this not to draw anyone away from it. I generally find myself in the minority when it comes to my sweet tolerance, where my love/hate relationship with rums comes into play. I will suggest to Heaven Hill that they add about 1 or 2 percent ABV to bring out some of those back notes and slightly offset the sweet characteristics. Either way this bourbon far outpaces many more expansive brands of bourbon out there. Another example to remind us that you can have great quality whiskey at a reasonable price – that being said I don’t expect Elijah Craig 12 to remain at this low of a price for too much longer.


  1. i agree that a higher alcohol volume would get rid of some of the sweet (50% maybe). it is in 2013...and it's still $24/750mL. now that's a sweet deal!

  2. It is a deal, and will be for a bit longer I surmise. Yet, bourbon will go up in cost. This is where the market is heading.

  3. It's 2013 and I picked up a bottle for $23.99, to be fair it was on sale.