It has been way too long since I had a whisky from Elijah Craig. I reviewed the 12 year old bottle a while ago and loved it. Unfortunately I wish I had the foresight to see what was coming and now you will struggle to find a bottle, if you do then expect to pay £60 or more instead of the £35 it used to be. Wish I stockpiled the stuff. Anyway, the Small Batch is the replacement for the 12 year old and is bottled at the same strength of 47% and I believe is pretty much the same recipe but with some younger whiskey in the mix due to low stocks of the older stuff. I picked this up at duty free in New York but over here you can get it online for about £45 which is disappointing to see. If this is meant to be the replacement but with younger whisky in it then I don’t understand how a price increase like this can be justified. This trend has been going on for a few years but has only recently become more noticeable to me because it has happened to a few of my favourites from Arran and Balblair which has really annoyed me. Anyway I will save that rant for another time.
Whisky: Elijah Craig Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, 47% vol.
Nose: Vanilla fudge, cherry bakewell, baked cake, stewed apples, potpourri, pecan nuts, leather polish
Taste: Butterscotch, honey, vanilla, maple syrup, mocha, cloves
Finish: Buttery and floral, vanilla, fudge
Summary: It has been a while since I tried the 12 year old but this feels more like a new bourbon rather than a replacement for the 12. I remember the 12 having more of those mature flavours of leather and spice whereas these elements are not as present but rather dominated more with buttery and floral notes – which work in nice harmony. The nice thing about this is that the oak dominate. This reminds me of Eagle Rare 10 but doesn’t quite surpass it. I can’t envisage any bourbon beating the Eagle Rare 10 in terms of cost to quality. Anyway, I probably would have given this a slightly higher score but in light of the price increase and it not quite hitting the spot that the 12 year old I am left feeling disappointed.
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
Image source: www.thewhiskyexchange.com