Elijah Craig Bourbon is one of the best whiskey brands on the shelf today. The good people behind the heritage brand — at Heaven Hill Distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky — were smart enough to keep Elijah Craigh bourbon accessible, cheap, and delicious for all these decades (the brand was introduced back in 1986). Then to support that good ol’ bourbon that we all can find and afford, Heaven Hill started releasing special Barrel Proof and limited edition versions — basically amping up the flavors consumers had already fallen in love with.
To that end, Heaven Hill just released a brand-new limited edition expression to celebrate the 2023 Ryder Cup in September. Since the Ryder Cup is a competition between European and U.S.A. men’s golf teams, Heaven Hill added some European flare to their very American bourbon. They accomplished this by using European toasted oak to finish classic Elijah Craigh for this one and … it works pretty damn well.
So let’s get right into it and break down the nitty-gritty of how this whiskey is made, what makes it special, and what to expect when you take that first sip.
Elijah Craig Toasted Barrel Ryder Cup Limited Edition Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Finished in European Toasted Oak Barrels
Average Price: $99
This whiskey was created to commemorate the “greatest team contest in golf” happening this year in Rome, Italy. The actual whiskey in the bottle is classic Elijah Craig Kentucky bourbon made with a mash bill of 78% corn, 10% rye, and 12% malted barley. After around four to six years, some of that bourbon was batched and re-barreled into toasted new European oak barrels from the wine-growing region around Rome, the state of Lazio. Once just right, those barrels were batched and left to rest before proofing and bottling.
Nose: Big notes of crème brûlée pop on the nose with a deep vanilla oiliness next to salted caramel with a hint of malted chocolate and dry pear/apple cider that’s just kissed with winter spice barks, cedar, and candied dry red fruits.
Palate: Those fruits take on a sweet and almost tart vibrance on the palate as moist marzipan cut with pear brandy leads to more spice barks dipped in mulled wine, apple cider, and cream soda with a hint of tobacco spiciness lurking in the background.
Finish: That tobacco ascends on the finish with a cedar woodiness as the spices refine toward powdery cinnamon and allspice with a hint of eggnog nutmeg and walnut loaf cut with dried cranberries and cherries.
This is a nice, classic, and very enjoyable bourbon. The ABV is light enough that you can easily sip this one neat and feel the rounded edges and silky nature. That all said, I can see this working far better in a whiskey-forward cocktail than anything else. I want to make old fashioneds all day with this one.
88/100: This is a solid B+ whiskey. It’s not overly “toasted” or wood-forward and has a nice overall balance.
Where To Buy:
This Limited Edition Elijah Craig will be available nationwide starting in mid-August. Expect to find it at good whiskey shops for close to MSRP (maybe as much as $120 or $150 depending on who’s pricing things). This is still a limited and allocated bourbon though, so don’t expect it to linger on shelves beyond August/September.
You’ll also be able to find it at this year’s Ryder Cup in Rome at the Marco Simone Golf & Country Club since this is the “Official Bourbon” of the whole show.