Elijah Craig Barrel Proof: Batch B518 (and now Batch C918)

After the initial publication of this article, Heaven Hill sent a sample of the next batch. I thought this would be the best place to put it since I had just reviewed the brand. As I state in my Statement of Ethics, if I accept a review sample, I will disclose it at the beginning of the article. Please consider it disclosed. I’d like to thank Heaven Hill for providing this sample to me with no strings attached. As always, all thoughts are just my opinion and should be taken as just that.

In my house, tonight is the start of the 2018 College Football season. Sure, there may have been games before tonight. One of them may have even featured the team that my beloved Minnesota Gophers are playing tonight. Yep, football season starts tonight. Because honestly, games that happen before my team plays, don't really show up on my radar. 

I love this time of year. It's a time of excitement and hope for fans who like to be into excitement and hope. Though for the typical Midwesterner, it is the time when they start preparing for disappointment so they aren't disappointed in the end when things turn out to be disappointing.

You might have guessed by now, that in this respect, I am not a typical Midwesterner. I like joy. I like hope. I have no problem being so excited that I can barely sit still. And so, I love the hours before the kickoff of the first Gopher football game of the year. Sure, it's likely that I'll be disappointed by the end of the season, but why let that get in the way of having a good time now?

I take the same attitude toward bourbon as well. I don't review all the stinkers that show up on this site just to provide a public service. Though at times that is actually the case, sometimes I just let myself be carried away by hope and get excited by the prospect of trying something new.

Of course, there are times you just know that something is going to be good. Gopher Women's Volleyball is a good example in the Minnesota College Sports world (ranked #3 in the country as of the last poll). And Elijah Craig Barrel Proof is a good example in the bourbon world. My wife and I have an agreement that if we see ECBP on the shelf, we buy it. We don't pass it by. And for good reason. It's always pretty good. Sometimes it's even great. 

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof: Batch B518

Purchase Info: $64.99 for a 750 mL bottle at Total Wine, Burnsville, MN

Details: 12-year age stated. 66.7% ABV. Batch B518

Nose: Dark chocolate, cherry, caramel, cinnamon and a hint of molasses. 

Mouth: Rich caramel, cherry, mint, baking spice, and an alcohol-induced heat.

Finish: Long and warm with lingering rich oaky notes of leather, cherry, and spice.

IMAGE: a hand drawn smiley face.

Thoughts: I definitely like to have this one with a little water. 133° proof is a bit hard to enjoy neat. Luckily, unlike some barrel proof offerings, this takes water well, maintaining many of the rich flavors while also allowing you to hold it in your mouth long enough to savor them. This one is good, I really like it. Classic bourbon flavors paired with rich, oaky notes of leather and cherry. Delicious!

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof: Batch C918

Purchase Info: This sample was graciously provided by Heaven Hill.  

Details: 12-year age stated. 65.7% ABV. Batch C918

Nose: Apple, oak, wood smoke, caramel, and baking spice. 

Mouth: Sweet caramel, baking spice, and oak.

Finish: Long and warm with lingering sweet caramel and baking spice.


Thoughts: This is a sweeter, showing much more caramel, than the batch obove. Almost dessert-like. I like this one too, but am struck by the variation between batches. Guess that’s why they name them now.

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