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