Whiskey Review: The Second Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Drop Of 2022

We’re already deep into the spring whiskey drop season, and bottles seem to be hitting shelves faster than any average consumer could keep up with. That’s why I’m here: to help you wade through it all. Case in point, the latest Elijah Craig Barrel Proof just landed on my desk.

Very briefly, Heaven Hill releases three Elijah Craig Barrel Proof whiskeys every year. The bottles are a replacement for their once-iconic, 12-year expression but now at cask strength. While that sounds like each of these releases would be the same as the last, they truly are not. The difference between last year’s three releases was pretty vast. And this year’s first release was one of the most classic “classic” bourbons anyone has dropped in a while.

So, let’s get right into what’s actually in this new, second Elijah Craig Barrel Proof of 2022. Trust me, time is of the essence, as these are hitting shelves right now and will not stay at MSRP for very long.

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Elijah Craig Barrel Proof B522

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof B522
Heaven Hill

ABV: 60.5%

Average Price: $59 (MSRP)

The Whiskey:

The second Elijah Craig Barrel Proof of 2022 is a combination of 12-year-old barrels from the Heaven Hill rickhouses. The vatted barrels go into the bottle with no fussing — no filtration, no cutting with water, no nothing. This is classic, as-is bourbon from top to bottom, straight from the barrel.

Tasting Notes:

The nose on this is so heavy with dry cedar kindling that it feels like it might catch on fire. There’s a line of vanilla shortbread underneath that wood that leads to a hint of sweet orange blossom, a drop of Cherry Coke, a fleeting hint of dried chili, and dark toffee with a minor note of nuttiness somewhere deep in that nose. The palate starts off like velvet — almost innocently — and slowly builds towards a crescendo while passing through notes of vanilla beans, cherry skins, digestive biscuits, and, eventually, woody spice with allspice and clove berries next to sharp cinnamon sticks that feel wet on the finish. That finish lingers and builds some real warmth that falls off into a mix of wet denim and cedar.

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 make it stand 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:

I had to sit with this for a minute. There were purely classic notes of bourbon throughout but that finish has a vibe that’s completely out of left field. The thing is, I liked it. That wet denim really calmed the ABVs that peaked with all the spice. You’re left with a soft and almost cool feeling on your tongue, which is kind of inexplicable for a whiskey with this high of a proof.


92/100 — This was so unique that I’m still figuring out where to place it. That aside, this is a very well-made whiskey that deserves a second, third, and fourth look to find what else is hiding in that complex profile.