I’ve not posted on Elijah Craig yet for the blog. When most people think of it they think of the 12-year-old 94 proof with the white label. It’s an affordable fifth always coming in less than $30 and is a nice glass of Bourbon to boot. While it won’t blow your socks off, you will not be disappointed if you buy a bottle and pour a glass. I prefer it with an ice-cube to tone down the proof just a little, but it’s a fine pour all by itself.
Recently I ran into the Elijah Craig Small Batch Barrel Proof and must say it is a pretty tasty glass of Bourbon. Even with a proof of over 130 the Bourbon is smooth with some leather and pepper spice notes and a backbone of caramel and didn’t need an ice-cube to be smooth and tasty. I believe this one is also aged for 12 years and my mission will be to find a bottle.
Moving on to the older vintages of Elijah Craig I recently saw a 23-year-old on the shelf for close to two bills. I passed due to the price point. At one of the areas best Bourbon bars recently they had the 21 year and the 23 year on the top shelf so I decided to do a little side by side comparison.
The 21 year was fusel alcohol and while it had a nice smooth flavor the alcohol in the nose was headache in a glass. I probably would have enjoyed it more had I added some water or ice, but wanted the experience of trying it neat. What that let me know is this was not the Bourbon for me.
Moving on to the EC 23 it was a vegetal mess. Keep in mind this is the Bourbon which is more than 2 bills. To put that in perspective that would be almost $8 per ounce. I don’t know which barrel this came from, but I do know it had no business ending up in my glass. Had I purchased an entire bottle of this I would be very, very disappointed.
Having recently had a 22 year Lost Prophet, and the 21 and 23 Elijah Craig what I am left with is the realization I do not appreciate Bourbons past the 20 year mark. They become overly smooth and devoid of character and any off flavors are highlighted and not in a good way. My suggestion for those who have found my notes to mirror your own would be to skip the older Bourbons in favor of those a little younger.