Tag Archives: non-chill filtered

Elijah Craig 12 Barrel Proof – Review

Elijah Craig 12 Barrel ProofElijah Craig 12 Barrel Proof Background

Last year Heaven Hill released Elijah Craig 12 Barrel Proof. It’s the leaded version of the popular Elijah Craig 12-year-old Bourbon that I recently reviewed. I’m a fan of that, so I was keenly interested in trying that Bourbon at barrel strength. First I had to get my hands on a bottle. I happened to luck out with one sitting on the counter, so I snatched it up and brought back samples for the store owner and manager to try. We all agreed it was pretty good and they tried to get some more. A few weeks later a few more bottles showed up and I grabbed two more because it had to be done.

Elijah Craig 12 Barrel Proof is non-chilled filtered, so it should offer a nice mouthfeel and characteristics typically lost in the clarifying process. The down side is the Bourbon will cloud up when chilled, but who cares about that. Who wants ice in their Bourbon, anyway? 

Heaven Hill is releasing Elijah Craig 12 Barrel Proof as limited batches and this review is batch #3. It has the nickname the devil’s batch as it came out to 66.6% alcohol. The newer bottles I recently bought are batch #4. There are apparently slight variations in batches, and you can see it in the color, but I haven’t -got into the 4th batch bottle yet. You can tell which batch you have by the bottle proofing:

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


12 year age statement. Bottled at 66.6%. Uses Heaven Hill’s mash of 75% corn, 13% rye, and 12% barley. Paid $50 (state minimum price)


Rich roasted aromas. Chocolate and coffee. Almost stout-like. Dark fruits. Cherry. Caramel and toffee. Getting some rye mint. Wood polish.


Oh, boy. Hot alcohol is overpowering on the first sip. Going back in lots of dark, burned sugars. Caramel, toffee, brown sugar. Buttery. Cinnamon and other baking spices. Great mouthfeel. Finish carries on. Need to add some water. Alcohol is turned down and getting more caramel, some rye, and charred oak. Black pepper. Stands up fine to water.


Regular Elijah Craig 12 is bottled at 47%, so you can see there’s a significant difference in alcohol with Elijah Craig 12 Barrel Proof. While 12 years old is on the older side of things for that conventional proof bourbon, 12 years might be a little young on this bottling. It’s got a lot of heat, although the alcohol isn’t unpleasant. I didn’t get fusel alcohols, just a lot of alcohol that seems to overpower everything else in the glass. Water is needed here and I toyed around with different dilutions to keep this strong, but still an enjoyably drinkable. I settled on 110-proof mostly because the numbers work out, but I’m sure a little higher or lower works too for individual tastes. Using a postage and/or cocaine scale works great for cutting whiskey. For my dram I figured about a 1-ounce pour came to 24g Elijah Craig 12 Barrel Proof and 5g of water. I found this mixture quite enjoyable.

I’m a fan of regular Elijah Craig 12 from my earlier review, so I’m definitely liking Elijah Craig 12 Barrel Proof. I read someone tried blending the Elijah Craig 12 and Elijah Craig 12 Barrel Proof to lower the glass proof. Hmm… Further research is needed. I love the mouthfeel and all the strong flavors here. Sweet, fruity, dark sugars, and barrel character. This is pretty great to me. And the price seems great too considering everything else out there.

My booze monger told me his distributor said availability hopefully will improve. That’s great news. I’m stocked up either way, but if it’s easier to get I’ll just enjoy this that much more. Either way it doesn’t seem Elijah Craig 12 Barrel Proof is going anywhere and a 5th batch should arrive early this summer.

Elijah Craig 12 Barrel Proof Recommendation

Shut Up and Take My Money – 5/5 Rating

Buying Options and Further Research

High proof Bourbons are a bit of an elite class and proofs can be pretty variable. If you’re looking to explore more high-proof/barrel proof bottles in the price range, I’d suggest looking into Knob Creek Single Barrel, Stagg Jr, and Russel’s Reserve Single Barrel. Another good option is if you can find a specialty bottling of Four Roses Single Barrel for around the same price.

Links and Reviews

Rendezvous Rye from High West – Review

Rendezvous Rye is my second review from High West. Previously I reviewed High West Double Rye!, which like Rendezvous Rye, is a bend of two straight rye whiskeys. I’m a big fan of both of these, but Rendezvous Rye is something special. The blending/vatting done at High West makes these products pretty exciting.

High West Rendezvous Rye Background

High West Rendezvous RyeRendezvous Rye is a blend of 6-year-old 95% rye and 16-year-old 80% rye. Comparatively, Double Rye is a 2 year 95% rye and a 16 year 53% rye. So, there’s a significant difference in the assertiveness of the rye. The younger whiskey is 6 vs 2-year-old and the older rye is a more robust 80% rye. It’s thought the 6 year comes from LDI/MGP and the 16 from Barton.

High West is headed by former bio-chemist David Perkins. He took a visit to the Maker’s Mark distillery while in town for a wedding and there he found his passion for making whiskey. High West started distilling in 2007 in addition to blending products such as Rendezvous Rye. They distill some clear liquor products, in addition have an oat whiskey and an all-malt whiskey aging in barrels.  David said the inspiration for Rendezvous Rye came from drinking Cognac blended with old and new brandies.


Blend of 16-year-old whiskey of 80% rye, 10% corn, and 10% barley; and 6-year-old 95% rye and 5% barley. Non-chill filtered. Bottled at 46%. Batch 13J30. Bottle 2553. Paid $51 (ABC Minimum)


Spearmint, pine, grassy. Apples. Young rye is evident in the nose. Nice oak and vanilla in there too.


Minty and sweetness up front. Lots of caramel and vanilla. Nice rye spices in there. Buttery. Flavorful and balanced. Mild warming going down. Light oak with a little astringency in the finish


Very nice. Nice complexity and really smooth drinking. There’s just a lot of stuff going on. It’s like the old and young ryes are having a boxing match in my mouth and everyone’s invited. Flavors go back and forth between the ryes. The best of two words of an aged/refined whiskey and a feisty young rye. This may not be for everyone since this seems like two distinct whiskeys in one glass. I could see someone may want to go either or one at a time, but there’s not exactly a lot of old rye whiskey on the shelves today. I’m impressed and really enjoy it.

I’m curious how much of this 16-year-old rye is around. I’ll be keeping a close eye on this one in case shelves start to go empty. If so, I’ll probably be stocking up.

High West Rendezvous Rye Recommendation

Buy Again – 4.5/5.0 Rating

Links & Reviews


High West Double Rye! – Review

Double Rye Background

High West Double Rye WhiskeyHigh West has made a name for themselves by blending sourced whiskey and here we get a blend of two ryes for Double Rye. Headed by former bio-chemist David Perkins, he decided to try his hand at distilling after visiting Kentucky for a wedding. After touring the Maker’s Mark operation he found his new passion. High West started distilling in 2007, but so far has made their bones blending, but they do distill some of their own juice. Along with some clear liquor products, they have an oat whiskey and an all-malt whiskey aging in barrels.

The idea here with Double Rye is to vat an older whiskey with more sugars from the barrel and corn mash to help balance out the more aggressive elements of the younger. The result shows off the young rye spice, but is still rounded with infused age.

Presentation is very attractive with rustic bottle and a big mushroom style cork on top. Wild, wild, west.


Blend of 16 year old whiskey of 53% rye, 37% corn, and 10% barley; and 2 year old 95% rye, 5% barley. Bottled at 46%. Batch 13J04. Bottle 2130. $37 Shelf Price (2016).


Pine and minty. Evergreen. Vanilla, Spicy. Menthol. Feisty is a good word. The young rye makes itself present. Brace yourself.


Pine and mint carry through. Spicy, vanilla, grainy, raw rye. Some corn sweetness. Honey/Caramel. Finish is kind of buttery, vanilla, with pleasant warming and moderate spice. A smooth sipper. What a combo.


Whiskey dry hopped with rye. That’s how I’d describe Double Rye in a nutshell. This is pretty interesting with the assertive young rye backed by a more mature whiskey. Drinking Double Rye makes me interested in vatting whiskey. A great blend that’s fist full of rye, but highly drinkable. I’ve been impressed High West’s Rendezvous and Campfire, and I think I actually prefer this third, but Double Rye is keeping some good company.

I think for the price Double Rye is worth checking out and keeping around to share with friends. I might reach for the Rendezvous Rye more times than this, but this is a fun ride.

Double Rye Recommendation

Buy a Bottle – 3/5 Rating

(My 5 point scale: Pass, Try a Glass, Buy a Bottle, Buy Again, Shut Up and Take My Money – Bottle price is taken into consideration for recommendations.)

Buying Options

I like to offer some options for similar rye whiskey around this price. Feel free to investigate other reviews for further research.

Double Rye is a unique because it’s a blend of what I think of as the two categories of rye whiskey. To my tastes though, it’s probably closer to the high percentage rye, so I’ll probably lean that way. The mentioned Rendezvous Rye is a good, although quite a bit more expensive. Similar prices, Bulleit Rye, Redemption Rye, Old Scout Rye, and Templeton Rye are more in the same ballpark. Note that all these ryes share the same Indiana source and to me any way have pretty similar tastes. Double Rye is a step away with some older rye blended in.

Double Rye References & Reviews