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Catching Up With Old Friends

Posted on by Eric Burke

It's the season of holidays. Christmas, Hanukkah, Boxing Day, Festivus, Saturnalia, Winter Solstice, Yule, Kwanzaa, New Year's Eve, New Year's Day, and...I continually marvel that some people are offended by Happy Holidays when this is literally the alternative if you want to be kind enough to wish someone blessings for the holiday they celebrate instead of the one that you do.

But whichever of the many options you celebrate at this time of year, it is often a time to gather with friends and family. For many people, that means visiting with people that you see only once a year, or even once every few years. It's a nice time to reunite with old friends, even if it just with a card, dropped in the mail. 

As such, I've chosen to catch up with a couple of friends of mine tonight. It's been a while since we really spent some time together and I'm eager to visit with them and see how they are doing. As they were previously some of my favorites, I really hope they are still doing well. And yes, of course, I'm talking about bourbon here. 

Tonight I'll be catching up with Elijah Craig Barrel Proof, who I haven't seen since August 2013, and Four Roses Small Batch who was last treated very unfairly by being compared to two Limited Small Batch Releases in January 2013.

Four Roses Small Batch

Purchase Info: $31.99 for a 750 mL bottle at Viking Liquor Barrel, Prior Lake, MN

Details: 45% ABV

Nose: Ripe, juicy berries, almonds, and mint. This really reminds me of an alcoholic herbal tea blend. 

Mouth: Follows the nose with ripe berries and herbal mint. Brown sugar, vanilla and a hint of oak that comes along for the ride. 

Finish: Medium to short, but settles nicely in the chest with lingering sweet fruit.

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Thoughts: Not to get too deep into the Four Roses marketing speak, but I've always found this to be a very mellow bourbon. Easy to drink with nice fruit and herbal flavors. I'm still a big fan of this one. 

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof

Purchase Info: $74.99 for a 750 mL bottle at the Heaven Hill Bourbon Heritage Center Gift Shop (September). 

Details: 69.7% ABV...you'll probably want at least a little water with this one.

Nose: Nutty oak, Cinnamon candies, caramel, vanilla, and baking spices. 

Mouth: This is a hot one that you don't really want to drink neat or hold in your mouth very long, as might be guessed at very near to 140 proof. Beyond heat is a sweet bourbon with lots of caramel, nutty oak, and baking spices. 

Finish: This finish is long and very warm with lingering oak and spices. 

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Thoughts: I've been enjoying the heck out of this one since I opened it. At this proof and price, I don't go to it often, but that's because I don't want to empty it too fast. Big, big fan of this.


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