Elijah Craig 12 Year

Elijah Craig 12 Year

Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

94 Proof

I’ve said it many times, and I’ll say it again here: Elijah Craig 12 Year is the best value bourbon on the market.  This is a quality 12-year-old whiskey we are talking about here, and you can still find it for under $30, easily.  Often you can buy the 1.75L bottle for $45 or less, at least in the Southeastern USA.

Recently, the brand Elijah Craig has been ringing out a little more than usual.  There are two reasons for that.  Reason One: Elijah Craig Barrel Proof, the super-allocated, limited-release tongue-bruiser, has grown in popularity since the first batch was released in 2013.  The latest batch (batch #8, an insane 139.8 proof) has been called the best yet by many, and if you put your ear on the bar at your local drinking establishment and listen closely, you can hear the bourbon world buzzing with comments like “better than Stagg, Jr” and “best value cask strength bourbon.”  Reason Two: Like so many whiskeys before it, Elijah Craig 12 Year has lost its age statement, at least on the front label of the bottle.  It still can be found in the flavor text on the back, but what this means for the future of the brand we can’t be sure.  As always, I don’t really care about these things as long as when I buy a bottle I’m still getting the same quality product I’m used to drinking.  Only time will tell, but I trust Heaven Hill to keep giving us the good stuff, at least for now.

Man, the nose on Elijah 12 Year is so familiar to me.  I’ve probably drunk this whiskey more than any other in the last year.  The wood presence is beautiful, great balance of vanilla and caramel with fresh cherries and a hint of orange peel.  The palate starts with a rich mix of oak and caramel, very brown (sometimes I taste in colors), but towards the finish the rye pokes out big time and those browns turn very yellow and hot.  The actual finish is nice and long, not super smooth, but you don’t want it to be because that funky peppery rye sticks around and is a flavor to savor.  This whiskey is much bigger than the price tag.

I keep waiting for the day when I walk into a store and the price for a fifth has gone up to $39.99.  Thing is, I’d still buy it.  For now I’ll thank the whiskey gods that every time I go in my local shop it’s sitting there on the shelf, smiling, winking, costing less than the majority of the whiskeys in its class.  Cheers old friend.

Rating: 8.8 / 10

Bought at my local ABC Store in Asheville, NC for $23.99.  What a steal!

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