The Latest Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Is Stone-Cold Classic Bourbon

Every year, Heaven Hill releases three versions of their beloved (and award-winning) Elijah Craig Barrel Proof. While it would track that these releases would be very similar from one to the other, they’re really not. Case in point, last year’s first release was a berry bomb with brambles and earthy soil layered in. This year’s first release is definitely not that.

I was lucky enough to snag a bottle of this year’s first Elijah Craig Barrel Proof and I was a bit hesitant to dive in. These are always good but I was left a little cold by last year’s late offerings and didn’t want to go back in just yet. I was mistaken. Not to spoil the end, but this is a very good whiskey.

So let’s skip more preamble and dive into what’s actually in this year’s first Elijah Craig Barrel Proof.

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Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch No. A122

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof A122
Heaven Hill

ABV: 60.4%

Average Price: $85

The Whiskey:

This year’s first drop is a 12-year-old whiskey made from Heaven Hill’s classic bourbon mash of 78 percent corn, 12 percent malted barley, and a mere ten percent rye. Those barrels are masterfully blended into this Barrel Proof expression with no cutting or fussing. This is as-is bourbon from the barrel.

Tasting Notes:

Caramel draws you in on the nose with a slight sourdough cinnamon roll with pecans, a touch of floral honey, and a soft and woody drug store aftershave with an echo of vanilla candle wax and singed marshmallow. The palate rolls through a soft leather and vanilla pie note as cinnamon ice cream leads to spicy oak. The mid-palate leans into a sweeter, almost creamy spice (think nutmeg-heavy eggnog) which, in turn, leads to a dry cedar bark next to a dry stewed-apple tobacco leaf folded into an old leather pouch for safekeeping.

The Bottle:

Elijah Craig’s bottle is the same as Larceny’s but the lack of lock and key graphics makes it a little subtler. The real draw is the large wooden stopper that’ll pop out on any bar cart. Plus, the “label” is largely embossed, meaning you get a good look at the brown juice in the bottle.

Bottom Line:

This is such a classic bourbon that I almost want to capitalize every letter of “classic” and put a period between each of those letters. This feels like nostalgia from top to bottom and I’m here for it. I’m taken back to my grandfather’s bar on the nose. The taste takes me back to those first sips of good bourbon back in college. This really hits it out of the park for anyone looking for pure Kentucky bourbon vibes.


97/100: This is a stone-cold classic bourbon with a kick. It might be a little warm for beginner palates but the flavor is just absolutely classic.