Sunday, August 26, 2018

Elijah Craig Small Batch The Pride Private Selection Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon

- $26
- 94 Proof
- Kentucky

I've never had a store pick of Elijah Craig before, but when I got the idea in mind to do an Elijah Craig tasting at work, I figured it would make a great addition to the tasting, and I knew where I could easily and quickly (not to mention cheaply) get my hands on one. It just so happened that it was at a gas station liquor store.  Or, to put it more accurately, at a liquor store adjacent to the gas station after which it's named.

At our tasting, which featured the normal small batch, this store pick, two versions of the barrel strength and the 18-year, this one seemed to fare pretty well. Overall it was well-accepted, and it realistically would probably have taken third place if we were keeping any kind of accurate score.

On the nose it's more or less what I expected from Elijah Craig. I got the traditional caramel and vanilla with only a light cinnamon and peppery spice. The alcohol, as expected, was minimal to non-existent, allowing the aroma to really take hold. It smelled sweet up front and gave a good indication of what was to come.

On the palate, that sweetness certainly carried over. The sweet caramel on the tip of the tongue was the first thing I noticed, and that eventually transformed to more of a burnt sugar flavor. It still had that sugary sweetness, but it also had that char note to tone down that sweetness jut a bit.

It also had a hint of dark fruit, like plum. I feel like when I get those dark fruit notes I always fall back on plum. Perhaps I need to eat more dark fruits to expand my palate a bit, but that's what I get. It wasn't dark cherry, or blackberry, but a more mellow and less berry flavor of plum.

The texture was more on the watery side, which was to be expected. What wasn't expected, however, was the silky feel that came along with. It had the mouthfeel of an aged Scotch, which tend to be lower in proof. It lacked the viscosity, but had a rare smoothness to it that I typically associate with more malt-forward whiskeys. This was a pleasant surprise.

Towards the end of the bottle, the vanilla really came to the forefront, mixing with a brown sugar sweetness that reminded me a bit of coffee cake. As is so often the case, I found those last few pours to be the best of the bunch.

This bottle was certainly better than the standard offering, and whoever is doing the selecting for The Pride did a pretty good job. It didn't blow my mind or anything, but given that it cause just as much as regular small batch, which itself is a great bourbon for the price, this one was really a no-brainer!

Grade: B+

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