Elijah Craig 12 years

Review 2017-072 «Specifics»  Straight bourbon whiskey • Distilled from 75% corn, 12% rye and 13% malted barley • 47.0% Alcohol • Matured for 12 years in new charred-American oak barrels • Chill filtered • Caramel-coloured • Heaven Hill Bernheim Distillery, Heaven Hill Distilleries • Bardstown • Kentucky • U.S.A. • Widely available • Price ±€30 • Whiskybase #66332

STORY. Named after Reverend Elijah Craig, the baptist preacher that is (dubiously) credited for the invention of the true Kentucky bourbon. The 12 year old is the standard release, next to irregular available 18 year old and single barrel releases. But the 12 year on the label is about to disappear completely, and from now on will be known as a ‘small batch’  NAS…

TASTING NOTES

APPEARANCE. Sturdy and grand bottle. Standing up like it has really something to tell. The liquid is surprisingly dark, which suggests some wood influence.

NOSE. This is full of wood spices (as could probably be expected, considering the age, which is relatively old for bourbon). I detect some sharp cinnamon, varnish, although it is overly bitter. Not too sweet either. The spices are there though with pepper and cardamon, along with spicy caramel, hot toffee and hazelnut chocolate. In some instances it resembles Armagnac. I really like the depth of the nose. More notes of smoked wood, coffee, cigars, liquorice. After a while a peculiar fruitiness comes up with  hints of pineapple juice, along with (more unsurprisingly) orange skin and raisins.

TASTE. Very mellow, in a good way, but also with quite some depth. It is spicy, without excessive bitterness. I find cherries, tobacco, and again it resembles an Armagnac-y style. Raisins, orange skin, and some slightly sugared grapefruit are also there. It is slightly astringent, even a bit winy (the Armagnac-y style again), and rum-y, as I can clearly find molasses after a while. Full, slightly sharpish, peppery, drying, while the sweetness lingering in the back. Hints of liquorice, strong expresso, and walnuts. Love it!

VERDICT. Bold, big and beautifully complex. Perfect bourbon for whisky-lovers that like the strong stuff. Highly recommended! Grab it while you still can.

Recommended for people who want to try a really good bourbon.

A bottle of this was a kind gift from my brother!

«What others say»

  • @Whiskybase: Mean score of 83.14 (53 votes)
  • @breakingbourbon: “An even and balanced bourbon that while not complex, still provides enough traits to keep it interesting” Score: 3/5
  • @whiskeyjug: “A great example of a solid bourbon that displays the core characteristics of bourbon” Score: 87/100
  • Ralfie @ralfy: “There you have it. Delicious!” Score: 91/100
  • John Hansell @whiskyadvocate: “Very good, solid, affordable bourbon” Score: 88/100
MY SCORE
Nose
87 %
Taste
86.5 %
Balance
86 %
Depth
88.5 %
Price
87.5 %