Thursday, April 20, 2023

Elijah Craig Small Batch Barrel Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon - Batch A120

- $60
- 136.6 Proof
- 12 Years
- Batch No. A120
- Kentucky

I've said it before, and, quite frankly, it doesn't need to be said, but Elijah Craig Barrel Proof is consistently some of the best whiskey out there. And, given that it's a tri-annual release, while it is an allocated product, it is far from impossible to find. Plus, the price hasn't jumped (yet) like we've seen with so many other products.

In fact, I've managed to collect a bit of a backlog of Elijah Craig Barrel Proof bottles between the normal releases and store picks. And the other day, I questioned why I wouldn't have at least one of them open at any given moment. So, rather than ponder the question, I decided to just go ahead and open one, starting with the oldest one on my shelf, this Batch A120 from January 2020.

As soon as I popped that cork I was hit with aromas of oak and cinnamon, along with a rich, dark sweetness that was like a molasses note. In addition to the cinnamon spice, there was also a black pepper spice to add some kick, along with some sweet vanilla notes. This was a great combination!

When I took my first sip, right away I was hit with a healthy dose of sweet, dark caramel, calling back to that molasses note from the nose. It also had a bit of that black pepper bite immediately on the tip of my tongue. There was a layer of richness as well, kind of like a dark chocolate note, keeping it somewhat sweet but nowhere near a dessert whiskey.

There was also something earthy or nutty, kind of like a mix between peanut and walnut.  There was also a bit of a tea leaf note that was interesting and added a bit of tanginess to the profile. These flavors all worked great with the caramel, black pepper and dark chocolate that persisted throughout.

The finish reminded me very much of tiramisu.  The tea note kind of took on more of a coffee liqueur note, and was accompanied by notes of vanilla and dark chocolate. That black pepper spice also found its way into the finish, adding some spice and giving me a reason to quickly go back for that next sip!

This certainly reminded me of just how well these releases are done, and, quite frankly, I think as soon as I'm done writing this I'll go pop open the next one!

Grade: A

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