I really wanted to love Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Bach A117 ever since it showed up on the local shelf in 2017, but it has not been an easy bottle to embrace. At the time my MO was to first try each Bourbon neat, then with a cube if it wasn’t stellar neat. This one was not remotely acceptable neat as it was alcoholic and with a strong vegetal note. I’ve always liked Elijah Craig, but this one seemed like it needed some work. At 127 proof I expected it to be somewhat alcoholic, but never wanted to smell vegetables. No problem I thought, let’s drop a cube in and see what happens. Unfortunately not enough to tame this beast and make the vegetables go away. Because I didn’t appreciate it neat and didn’t love it with a cube it has languished in the bar for a very long time. Finally I thought to try it with a splash which would proof it down and determined if I used cold, not room temp, water and made the splash approximately 1/4 of the volume I had poured the vegetables went away and the beast was tamed. The aroma with water presented a brown sugar character with leather and oak. The flavor had more brown sugar, but also a nice peppery/cinnamon spice and still an alcohol burn post consumption. I’m glad I found a way to make this work out since I could never bring myself to ditch a 50 buck bottle of Bourbon. Reviews on this from others have been mixed and perhaps not as harsh as my critique. All other 2017 and 2018 releases have garnered rave reviews so this may just be a fluke. It certainly won’t stop me from purchasing more Elijah Craig, but if you somehow happen upon an A117 my suggestion would be to skip it.