Last three weeks I’ve been sipping on the latest batch of Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch 7. I’ve posted about Batches 3-6 and thought I could mention something about Batch 7. Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch 7 is the lowest proof of the releases as you can see in the table below. Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch 7 comes in at 64% / 128-proof. The earlier “hazmat” 140-poof bottle got everyone excited just on proof alone. Being the other end of the spectrum I’m curious how people feel about Batch 7. For me, I don’t really care about the actual proof. I just want a nice big Bourbon to sip on.
Elijah Craig Barrel Proof is one of my favorite Bourbons. It’s very rich, and being 12 years old, has a lot of barrel character. Big burnt/char flavors with heavy dark caramel and vanilla goodness. Chasing special Bourbon releases is an exercise in frustration, but these Elijah Craig Barrel Proof releases are relatively easy to obtain. I can usually snag an extra bottle, and since it comes out every 3 months or so, I can easily enjoy one and stash another.
Anyway, I just can’t get motivated to keep reviewing the same Bourbon over and over to pick out slight various between batches. So, I’ll just add some comments.
Batch 7 I get a big caramel-vanilla punch and sweetness up front. Then in comes the burt-char flavors, filled in with oak and astringency. Throughout a steady alcohol burn from the barrel proof. The finish I get some dark fruits like raisins and some acrid residuals.
I’m not sure Batch 7 is my favorite, but there’s nothing here to change my appreciation of these releases.
This is the second post in my look at Four Roses’ 10 different private barrels. I’d suggest checking that post on the lower 20% rye recipes for the background on this effort and how I stacked those 5 recipes.
In this post I’ll be looking at the even higher 35% rye recipes. It’s interesting to compare how the same yeast came across in the two recipes, although certainly barrel selection also plays a part.
As I did last time, I’ll rank the recipes towards my preference and put in some notes for each. My goal isn’t really to review these as I expect different batches will move the needle either way a bit. My intent is just to determine which recipes I think I like best so I can seek those out in the future.
Note: The recipes with more than one bottle listed are sampled from all those bottles.
Four Roses Small Batch Limited Edition/LE 2014 is the latest annual release of Four Roses’ special Small Batch. Each year Four Roses selects a special version of its Small Batch bourbon using a blend from 10 of their different recipes. The recipes are different from the standard Four Roses Small Batch, which is mixture of OBSO, OBSK, OESO, and OESK barrels. Also different is the Limited Edition is a barrel strength bottle where the standard Small Batch is at 90-proof.
This year’s Four Roses Small Batch LE 2014 is bottled at 55.9% / 111.8-proof. The selected barrels are OBSV @ 13 years, OESV @ 12 years, OBSF @ 11 years, and OBSK @ 9 years. So, technically this is a 9-year-old bottle, but consists of Bourbon of up to 13 years old.
Elijah Craig Barrel Proof is back with a sixth batch. This time around it’s the biggest proof yet at 70.1% / 140.2-proof (AKA: Hazmat batch). Judging from the web analytics there’s a lot of interest in these new Elijah Craig BP batches, so I’ll post some thoughts on my bottle of batch 6.
I’m not going to compare this batch to previous bottles. I thought about it, but I highly doubt you’ll find yourself deciding which batch to buy. These bottles don’t seem to hang around shelves long enough to be an option. On the other hand, if you bought a previous batch all you want to know whether Batch 6 stacks up against the earlier bottles, the answer is yes.
12 year age statement. Bottled at 70.1% / 140.2-proof. Uses Heaven Hill’s mash of 75% corn, 13% rye, and 12% barley. Paid $50
Woody and roasted. Dark caramel, raisins, vanilla, a bit perfumey. Wood polish. Cherries, mint.
Full and woody. Toffee-like and dark brown sugar. Coffee. Burnt popcorn. Has a punch, but even at 140-proof it’s still sippable. Sweetness is balanced out with the strong flavors, but it’s still there. Vanilla pokes out here and there. Residual alcohol burn, minty, and dry astringency finishes it out.
Except for a few clusters, all the leaves are off the trees here in Michigan. This weekend we lit our first fire of the season and football is on the TV. I’m also revisiting an old friend here in Elijah Craig Barrel Proof. As the weather get chilly, this is a quiet enjoyable sipper.
Elijah Craig BP is one of the better things happening in Bourbon now. It’s big, bold, and has an assertive woody flavor that may not appeal to everyone, but if you ask me it’s a pretty great pour. Stock up for winter.
This is a bit of a journey, but first, a quick background. The deal with the 10 recipes at Four Roses has been told many times, but it’s kind of critical for what is happening here. Four Roses makes 10 different recipes of 5 yeast and two mashes. One mash is 35% rye and the other is 20% rye with the difference make up with corn. Both are relatively high rye Bourbon recipes. Four of those recipes goes into the Four Roses Small Batch, OBSV goes into the Four Roses Single Barrel, and a combination of all 10 can be used for the Four Roses Yellow Label. Four Roses has a barrel program where stores and restaurants can select a single barrel of one of the 10 recipes and have them bottled up for their customers. In my opinion, these private barrels are one of the best bottles of Bourbon that you can actually walk in and buy.
My first goal was to collect and sample bottles of the 10 individual recipes. This write-up here looks at 5 of the recipes within the lower rye E mash. I’m still sampling the B recipe bottles. After I tracked down bottles of all the recipes, which took probably like 8 months or so and a trip to Kentucky, my next goal was to figure out which recipes I prefer. What I’m wondering is which recipes I may like best so in the future I’ll know what to grab when I find it. I’d be happy to have any of these bottles, but if there are recipes I prefer I might as well focus on stocking up on those.
Each of one of these private barrels are pretty good. Four Roses screens samples before sending them out for selection, so we should all feel confident that no matter what every bottle should be a winner. Still, there’s a lot of variability between selections of the same recipe. I’ve experienced different opinions of the same recipe between different selections, so there can still be a factor of simply picking out an outstanding barrel of Bourbon regardless of recipe. Beyond the recipe, there are factors in barrel age, proof, and aging location. Even with all those other variables, I think there’s still a preference to be had in the recipe.
So, my first pass through this will be to figure which yeasts I like the most within the two mashes from the bottles I’ve gathered. The second pass will see which I like overall between those favorites. Then, I want to start looking at additional selections of the recipes I liked the best. I’m not sure how helpful this will be to others since your preference may be for a different recipe, plus you’ll likely not find the specific barrel selections outlined here. So, mostly this is just me documenting the journey for myself, but hopefully you’ll still find it interesting.
I’m not go into a full review of each bottle. What I’ve done is sample all five side by side and ranked them. My ranking was Good, Better, Best. I’ll include some notes about each and also details on the barrel, which might prove to be interesting eventually. What if it turns outs I prefer bottles from a particular warehouse? Or even a location within a warehouse? Or maybe upper, middle or lower positions on the rack? (Warehouses at Four Roses are all single floor, but they stack barrels six high)