Saturday, August 4, 2018

Elijah Craig Small Batch Barrel Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon 2017 Batch No. C917

VITALS:
- $60
- 131.0 Proof
- 12 Years
- Batch No. C917
- Kentucky

This is one of those bottles that I lucked into and simply couldn't hesitate to grab it off the shelf. I was just in my local grocery store and, on a whim, figured I'd check out the whiskey selection, and there was this bottle, and at more or less retail! The batch that was released prior to this one (B517) won all sorts of accolades, and I found it to be a superb whiskey when I had the chance to try it. So, I was looking forward to giving this one a go.

I managed not to crack it until just a few weeks ago when I hosted a whiskey tasting with a flight of various Elijah Craig offerings, including Elijah Craig Small Batch, a store select single barrel, the 2017 release of the 18 year single barrel, Release #11 of the Barrel Proof and this bottle. Although the results were close, this bottle came out as the favorite of the five among our group.

On the nose I got a nice, light amount of wood notes. It wasn't an oak bomb by any means, but just enough to appreciate it. Those wood notes seemed to go great with the cinnamon and heat that came off the top, blending well to an almost piney scent.

On the palate, it's immediately sweet and rich up front. That sweet richness really hides the alcohol, as the burn was minimal. Instead, my mouth was coated with almost syrupy liquid layering caramel and vanilla over a toasty, burnt sugar flavor that was amazing.

Almost as if to make sure it didn't come off as too sweet, the heat that I was expecting up front finally came through on the back end, adding a nice burn on the back of that caramel richness. However, eventually that heat subsided, as it usually does, and I was left with a lingering caramel note that just coated my entire mouth and throat.

On later pours other notes seemed to come through, working to complement the dominant caramel notes, with hints of orange peel and maraschino cherry coming through, reminding me of a less spicy old fashioned. Though these other flavors seemed almost fleeting, they offered a nice, subtle but vibrant note to go along with the delicious, rich (did I mention this whiskey is rich?) caramel, vanilla and burnt sugar tones.

All in all, this was a dessert bourbon if I ever had one. The mouthfeel was thick and viscous, the flavors were sweet and rich, the burn was even welcome to cut the sweetness, and in the end my mouth felt coated as though I had been eating soft caramels for the past hour. This bourbon was absolutely fantastic, and I loved it even more than the previous release, which itself was pretty spectacular!

Grade: A+

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