Thursday, October 21, 2021

Elijah Craig Small Batch Barrel Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon - Batch No. A119

- $60
- 135.2 Proof
- 12 Years
- Batch No. A119
- Kentucky

This is one of those bottles I pick up whenever I see it on a shelf at the right price. I don't go out of my way to track them down as they're released, but I certainly don't pass them by whenever I do see one out on display or on the shelf. Of course sometimes I do pass them up due to price. And I haven't run across every release.

I have, however, managed to get the "A" batch, the first release of the year, for the past three years. Having developed that sort of backlog of three bottles, a couple weeks ago I finally decided it was time to open one of them up. And so, I started with the oldest one first. The Elijah Craig Barrel Proof certainly isn't super rare, but it's rare enough that I generally don't pop them open just to sit on my couch at home by myself. This one was somewhat of an exception to that rule.

The nose came across as a bit spicy. And I'm not just talking about the alcohol burn, which certainly was there as well. Rather, I got a lot of cinnamon, the spicy kind, mixed with chocolate. It reminded me of Mexican chocolate, with that chili or cayenne spice, but not the pepper flavor. I also got notes of dark cherry as well as a light note of cloves on the nose.

The flavor didn't necessarily match the nose, which I was okay with.  Up front it was all caramel. In fact, when it first hit my tongue I was thinking it might be a "caramel bomb" as the kids on the internet might say. But, shortly behind that I got waves of other, rich and sort of sweet flavors, including a great, rich amaretto note, followed by that same dark cherry I got on the nose. 

It did have a nice, warm cinnamon spice to it, but not the heat I was getting on the nose. It didn't accompany a chocolate note either. Rather, it was more paired with the caramel note on the front end, as well as a pecan pie filling type of note.

The finish brought yet another wave of flavor. The nice viscosity of the bourbon left a sweet coating of butterscotch in my mouth and at the back of my throat. But, there was also a distinct nutmeg flavor that seemed to stick around, along with just some remnants of that cinnamon heat.

This wasn't the best Elijah Craig Barrel Proof I've had, and yet I can still say it was delicious and absolutely worth grabbing off the shelf. I may have to crack into the next one sooner than later!

Grade: B+

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