Elijah Craig

Review: Elijah Craig Rye Whiskey

Recently, Heaven Hill Distillery added a new whiskey to its Elijah Craig lineup – a straight rye whiskey. Like its small batch bourbon sibling, the new rye whiskey is bottled at 94 proof. The mash bill used here is 51% rye, 35% corn, and 14% malted barley.

My excitement for news of a brand extension is always met with a bit of anxiousness. That’s especially true here. After all, Elijah Craig bourbon, in both its small batch and barrel proof forms, is some of the highest caliber whiskey consumers can easily obtain, especially given its value for money. By the way, this new rye whiskey has a suggested retail price of $29.99. It fits right in price-wise, but how does it taste?

The nose features hints of toasted rye grain, maple syrup, vanilla, and spice. Taste-wise, the new rye whiskey offers a wonderfully delightful exhibition of sweet and spicy. Sharp rye notes complement vanilla cake. Layers of baking spice quickly develop, leading to honey and dried fruit. The finish turns a touch dry with a lingering sweet oak note.

Like the other Elijah Craig expressions, this new rye whiskey offers tons of flavor for a reasonable price. But put the cost aside for a moment. This is delicious. It drinks as easily as Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon, but doesn’t carry over the big oaky notes. That’s the good news.

The not-so-good news is that this fantastic rye whiskey is only launching in four markets – North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Oregon. It’ll take some time to spread to the rest of the country. Patience is a virtue, unless you can find a mule from one of the aforementioned markets to snag a bottle for you.

Elijahcraig.com

Thanks to Heaven Hill for the sample. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Review: Elijah Craig (New Orleans Bourbon Festival 2019)

IMG_4535.jpg

With the New Orleans Bourbon Festival right around the corner, now is as good a time as ever to take a look at some of their 2019 single barrel picks in a series of short reviews.  A lot of the whiskies in this series are still available in certain New Orleans retail stores and will be poured at the 2019 New Orleans Bourbon Festival.

Last July, I had the pleasure of joining Tracy & Barbara Napolitano, co-founders of the New Orleans Bourbon Festival, for a private barrel selection of Elijah Craig.  We were given four different barrels to choose from without knowing their ages.  The pick would be solely based on flavor, which is the way it should be.  Just like Elijah Craig Small Batch, this single barrel is bottled at 94 proof.

IMG_3864.jpg

The nose carries a rich toffee aroma along with orange peel, honey, barrel char, and a touch of oak spice.  Taste-wise, caramel chew and orange creamsicle are balanced by waves of baking spice, toasted oak, and a hint of red fruit.  The medium length finish leaves lingering notes of spiced fruit and oak.

This Elijah Craig bourbon goes down easy and is VERY drinkable. Almost dangerously so.  It’s not as big & oaky as what Elijah Craig Small Batch used to be.  It’s a bit more rounded and vibrant, but not young.  I’m not sure this whiskey is still available for sale, but it’s my understanding it will be poured at the New Orleans Bourbon Festival.  If you do see a bottle for sale, don’t waste a moment picking it up.  8.5/10

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Bourbon Review (Batch B517)


I always look forward to tasting new batches of Elijah Craig Barrel Proof.  Five months into 2017 and we’re just starting to see the second batch, B517, hit shelves.  This one comes in at 124.2 proof.  Not as high as previous batches, but still hearty nonetheless.  I find the quality of these releases to be pretty consistent.  I wouldn’t expect this batch to be any different.  

Waves of caramel, dark chocolate and dark fruits fill the nose.  Wisps of sweet corn and cinnamon bark also show up after a few minutes in the glass.  The entry is rich.  I’d expect nothing else from this whiskey.  Caramel and oak are prominent, complemented by hints of espresso, vanilla, allspice, black cherry and buttered corn.  The finish is long with bittersweet oak and spice notes.  

Bottom line, Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Bourbon Batch B517 is pretty damn tasty.  I did find oak played a slightly bigger part here, especially compared to this year’s first batch.  That didn’t put me off from enjoying the whiskey, which I tasted at full proof.  I didn’t need to add any water to this one.  Sure, water will open it up a touch, but you’ll miss that concentrated blast of flavor that only a barrel proof whiskey can deliver.  8.5/10

Thanks to Heaven Hill for the sample.  As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.