When I reviewed Elijah Craig 12 Barrel Proof (3rd batch) I gave it my top rating. I liked it so much I got curious how to make more of it by blending it with the regular Elijah Craig 12. I’m a fan of unfiltered barrel proof Bourbons. There’s so much flavor and I like choosing my own adventure with how much water to add. I try to check myself against liking big Bourbons just because they’re big, but like a good IIPA, there’s just something inherently great about going big. So, my ratings tend to favor things like Elijah Craig 12 Barrel Proof. Plus ECBP is a great value on an age stated bottle and that too me puts it over the top.
Since I wrote that review a few months ago two additional batches have been released. The whole menu of Elijah Craig 12 Barrel Proof includes:
Batch 1 – 67.1% / 134.2-Proof
Batch 2 – 68.5% / 137.0-Proof
Batch 3 – 66.6% / 133.2-Proof
Batch 4 – 66.2% / 132.4-Proof
Batch 5 – 67.4% / 134.8-Proof
Batch 6 – 70.1% / 140.2-Proof
Batch 7 – 64.0% / 128.0-Proof
Batch 8 – 69.9% / 139.8-Proof
Batch 9 – 67.8% / 135.6-Proof
Batch 10 – 69.4% /138.8-Proof
Since that review, I’ve picked up the fourth and fifth batch and I’ve been curious how they stack up. Sampling three barrel proof glasses is a test of endurance, but it must be done. You can’t really spend a lot of time evaluating these before your sensors go comfortably numb. It’s a challenge, while a fun one, but that’s a big caveat here on results.
I ran through these at full proof. Then added water and took a break before revisiting. Then came back around the next day again at barrel proof. As with all barrel proof bottles, I prefer some water with Elijah Craig 12 Barrel Proof. Still, sampling at bottle strength I think gives a good impression of what we’re dealing with. After that, adding water I think helps represent how I’d typically enjoy it.
Well this was fun. These are all pretty great.
- 3rd Release: Sweeter, I get more caramel and vanilla than the others
- 4th Release: More astringency and nice caramel coming through. A bit more bite.
- 5th Release: Char seems a bit more assertive. A little smokey. Some cocoa.
To me #3 and #4 are both about equal. I prefer #4 slightly as it has a bit more character, although #3 might be a little easier drinking. I’d have no problem buying an extra bottle of either of these for the bunker.
So, there you go. These are all worth picking up if you see a bottle. If I find a batch 4, I’ll be more likely to buy a bottle I don’t need, but in no way are any of these a notch below the others. My line up here would be #4, #3, and #5.
Fun fact: After I did testing on this, I poured the three glasses together. Yeah, that’s good too!