Elijah Craig Barrel Proof, Batch B519

I’d like to thank Heaven Hill for providing this review sample to me with no strings attached.

I’m not a “socks” person. I just really hate socks. I hate how they cling to my feet. I hate how they make my foot feel warm and damp. In fact, the only thing that I like about socks is the amazing feeling you get when you take them off and your feet can breathe.

Because of my aversion to socks, I’m barefoot most of the time. Even in winter, I don’t bother to put on socks or shoes if I’ll be outside for less than a couple minutes. I had a young boy ask his dad why I was barefoot once when I got the mail in January. In fact, I wear socks so seldom that when I actually do dig a pair out of my dresser, the dogs go nuts. They know that there is a really good chance that they are about to get a walk.

So, lucky for me, no one has ever gotten me socks for Father’s Day. A tie either for that matter. I usually get bourbon instead. Well, let me amend that. I’ve never received socks for Father’s Day until Heaven Hill sent a pair of Father’s Day socks along as part of their most recent media kit.

It’s been less than three months since I last reviewed a batch of Elijah Craig Barrel Proof. I always really like them so I probably wouldn’t have reviewed it again so soon. Except that they included those darn socks. I like running giveaways and since they were kind enough to include them, I figured it would be fun to pass them along to one of you.

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof, Batch B519

Purchase Info: This was graciously provided by Heaven Hill for review purposes.

Details: 61.1% ABV. 12 year age statement.

Nose: Brown sugar, cinnamon, oak and a general nuttiness.

Mouth: Sweet and warm. Cinnamon leads the way on this one with cocoa and vanilla following on its heels. Underneath is a repeat of that nuttiness from the nose.

Finish: Warm and sweet. Lingering cinnamon, cocoa, toffee and a touch of mint.

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Thoughts: As expected, this a very delicious bourbon. If I recall correctly, this is sweeter than A119. I’m really liking the cocoa notes and how they play with the very prominent cinnamon.


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Bulleit Rye 12-Year-Old

I’d like to thank Taylor Strategy for providing this sample to me with no strings attached. All notes and thoughts are my own.

I am a big fan of the MGP 95% rye style of Rye Whiskey. I’ve been a fan since I first tasted Bulleit Rye shortly after it was released. In fact, it was the first rye that I ever really paid attention to. Other ryes just sorta tasted like bourbon but this one tasted different. And over the years, Bulleit Rye is easily the most common rye to sit on my shelves. And now that I’ve found that it plays amazingly nice with Amaro Montenegro, I’m guessing it will be on my shelf even more often in the future.

So like I said, I’m a fan of the MGP 95% Rye style of rye whiskey. Some of my favorite aged rye whiskeys have been sourced from MGP. Willett used to put out beautiful 5-12 year old ryes that were the prize of my whiskey shelf (while they lasted). These days, even if they put one out, you couldn’t afford one without a trust fund.

So I was pretty excited when I got the press release stating that Bulleit would be releasing a limited edition 12-year-old version of their rye. Especially when I noticed that it was only going to be about $50. I was less excited to see that it would not be coming to Minnesota though. (Luckily I will be visiting Kentucky next week. Maybe I can get my hands on a bottle.) Luckily, I was able to request a sample of it and get a taste.

Bulleit Rye 12-Year-Old

Purchase info: This sample was graciously provided by Taylor Strategy for review purposes. It is available in Colorado, Illinois, New York, Ohio, Oregon, California, Kentucky, Texas, Georgia, New Jersey, Arizona, Massachusetts, Maryland and Washington D.C. Suggested retail price is $49.99.

Details: 95% rye mashbill. 12 year old age statement. 46% ABV

Nose: Mint, pipe tobacco, cinnamon, dill, caramel

Mouth: Spearmint, dill, tobacco, black pepper, anise

Finish: Of medium length. Lingering mint, black pepper and anise

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Thoughts: Folks, this is really good! I like Bulleit Rye and as you might expect, this is even better. If you are a fan of the 95% rye style, you should grab this if you run across it. If you aren’t maybe give it a pass. I am, so I envy the people that live where this is available. Seriously. This is good.


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Eight & Sand Blended Bourbon Whiskey

I’d like to thank Gregory + Vine for providing this sample to me with no strings attached. All notes and thoughts are my own.

I came to a realization over the course of the last month. In this country, blended whiskey has a bad rep. And for good reason. Most of it is crap. Two things crystalized it for me. The first is that I’ve been getting a lot of comments on an old post that reviewed Kentucky Gentleman. In case you were blissfully unaware, Kentucky Gentleman is a blend of 51% bourbon and 49% Grain Neutral Spirits. Yet, it is labeled as “Kentucky Gentleman Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey.” Sadly some of the commenters didn’t bother reading the next line on the label which describes the components of the blend. Let’s just say they were unhappy with their purchase. On the other hand, I also had people saying I was a snob because I didn’t like it so…yeah.

But the other thing that crystalized the bad reputation that blended whiskeys get was the sample I received of Eight & Sand, a Blended Bourbon Whiskey from the folks at MGP in Indiana. MGP makes damn fine whiskey. Yet, I saw ”blended” on the label and even though the label explicitly said “No GNS or coloring added,” I still felt a moment’s hesitation when I poured my first glass.

Eight & Sand is a Blended Bourbon Whiskey which, according to labeling regulations, means that it is at least 51% Straight Bourbon Whiskey. The other 49% can be almost any other spirit, but is usually GNS. So yeah, it was that other up to 49% that worried me. They must have been expecting questions like this though because when I asked I was very quickly assured that the non-bourbon portion was composed of rye whiskey, corn whiskey and light whiskey (in case you are curious, light whiskey is whiskey that has been distilled to higher than traditional whiskey’s 160 proof limit but lower than the 190 proof limit which would render it neutral grain spirits. It is then aged in used or uncharred new containers). So this is an all whiskey blend.

The Eight & Sand blend creation actually reminds me a lot of the way many Canadian Whiskies are created. Canadian Whiskies often start with a delicate “base whisky” which is similar to US Light Whiskey. To that they blend in “flavoring whiskeys” made from other types of grain: rye, malt, bourbon-style corn whisky, etc. (but never GNS). Our Neighbors to the North rely on (and acknowledge) their blenders to make a particular whisky what it is. They form an idea or feeling they want to capture or evoke and blend the whisky to that. Which is why I say that Eight & Sand reminds me of a Canadian Whisky in some ways. Sure, in Eight & Sand’s case, the base whiskey is bourbon. But they also set out with the idea to showcase their four primary whiskeys (Bourbon, corn, rye, and light) and then blended a whiskey that can show off what can be done with them.

Eight & Sand Blended Bourbon Whiskey

Purchase Info: I was graciously provided a 750 mL sample from Gregory+Vine for review purposes. Suggested retail price is $29.99 for a 750 mL bottle.

Details: 44% ABV. Blended Bourbon. No GNS or coloring added. A blend of Bourbon, Rye, Corn and Light whiskeys.

Nose: Mint, cinnamon and caramel.

Mouth: Bubblegum, mint, and cinnamon spice.

Finish: Warm and of medium length. Lingering cinnamon, clove, bubblegum and mint.

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Thoughts: If you had handed this to me with no explanation as to what it was, I would have said it was a pretty tasty bourbon. Knowing that this is a blend, it really shows of the MGP blender’s skill. I mentioned above that the process to create this was similar to the process used in Canadian Whisky. The reason I thought of that is that during our tasting, this reminded me a lot of a really good Canadian Whiskey. I’m thinking something from Wiser’s.

In fact, it shows my biases that when I saw the suggested retail price was roughly $30, I baulked a little. It seemed odd to charge that much for a Blended Bourbon. Yet if someone had handed me this same whiskey and told me it was Canadian, I would have thought the $30 price tag was ludicrously low. I would have bought three or four bottles before they '“wised up.” I guess what I am saying is that you should probably give this one a shot. It is quite good and well worth the asking price.


BourbonGuy.com accepts no advertising. It is solely supported by the sale of the hand-made products I sell at the BourbonGuy Gifts store. If you'd like to support BourbonGuy.com, visit BourbonGuyGifts.com. And if you are an iOS user, look for Bourbon Guy in Apple News. Thanks!