Review No.19. Elijah Craig 12 Year Old

Heaven Hill are another distillery that have a good reputation for producing good quality bourbons.  Heaven Hill claim to be the largest independently owned company and they have been expanding their portfolio in recent years.  I am not sure how they compare to Buffalo Trace in terms of bourbon brands within their portfolios but they do have bourbons that can compete with Buffalo Trace when it comes to quality and price. Elijah Craig is one of Heaven’s Hill flagship brands, making the 12 year old a very important product for them.  Recently, due to lowering levels of stock, they have dropped the 12 year old and replaced it with a non age statement version. I can’t tell you how closely it matches the 12 as I have not tried it yet.  You can still find the 12 year old in the UK if you search hard enough but expect to pay inflated prices.  I purchased this bottle in 2016 from Marks and Spencer and it cost me £36.  Now you will probably pay almost twice as much.  Unfortunately that’s the way it has been going with popular brands.


Whisky: Elijah Craig 12 Year Old Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, 47% vol.

Nose: Oak, leather, vanilla, marzipan, caramel, hint of cherry

Taste: Cherry, caramel, leather, spices, oak

Finish: Spice, charred oak, leather

Score: 4

Summary: This is a very grown up bourbon, full on with it’s flavours due to its age and alcohol volume.  Yet it is finely balanced, the alcohol is not too dominant, the wood influence doesn’t make it too bitter, the sweetness is nicely balanced with the spices.  Then there is this leathery note to it that lingers in the background which I think adds an extra dimension. This is well put together and for me is one the most complete bourbons out there.  I would happily have this as a permanent fixture on my shelf but due to the lack of availability and price I choose not to.



Scoring scale: My scores reflect a balance of the overall experience, availability and cost for a whisky,

1 – not to my preference

2 – tastes fine but does not excite me

3 – more to my liking and would revisit occasionally

4 – very much to my liking and would consider as a regular feature on my whisky shelf

5 – permanent feature on my whisky shelf


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