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.
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
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.
Win some bourbon swag with our first ever giveaway! To enter, follow Adventures_In_Whiskey on Instagram, and tag 2 of your drinking buddies. It’s that simple. Good luck to you all!
Thanks to our friends at Buffalo Trace, Elijah Craig, Four Roses, High West and Maker’s Mark for supplying the prizes.
Giveaway ends Tuesday, April 5, 2016 at 11:59PM CDT. Two winners will be randomly picked and announced on Thursday, April 7, 2016. Prizes will be divided into two bundles, with one bundle going to each winner. All entries must follow adventures_in_whiskey on Instagram and tag 2 people. I will contact the two winners on April 7.