Tag Archives: Heaven Hill

Elijah Craig 18 Single Barrel – Review

 Elijah Craig 18 Background

Elijah Craig 18
Elijah Craig 18

A few short years ago there was enough supply of Elijah Craig 18 and low enough demand for it to be a regularly stocked item on shelves. As interest in Bourbon increased, particularly for older Bourbons, Elijah Craig 18 was temporarily discontinued to rebuild aging supplies. Heaven Hill says they didn’t have enough barrels stocked to do a sufficient release, so they spend the past three years reworking their barrel inventory. This fall, Elijah Craig 18 finally returned to shelves with a release of about 15,000 bottles. With that many bottles, Elijah Craig 18 should trickle a little farther than the typical limited edition Bourbon.

I missed out on getting one of the older bottles be by about a week. I was just getting into Bourbon and working my way through a list of stuff to try. I walked into my Bourbon monger and spotted a shelf tag, but no bottles of Elijah Craig 18. They said someone came in the previous week and cleared the shelf at $44.85. The new release of Elijah Craig 18 though will see a price adjustment for current Bourbon times. The new suggested retail price is $120.

Heaven Hill says that Elijah Craig 18 was selected by master distillers Craig Beam and Denny Potter from barrels stored on lower floors. Lower floors of warehouses generally provide slower and gentler aging, which would seem ideal for very old Bourbons like 18-years. This year’s Elijah Craig 18 release joins the standard Elijah Craig 12 Year, Elijah Craig Barrel Proof, and a new batch of limited Elijah Craig 23 Year.

Details

18 Years Old. Barred on 9/24/97, Barrel #4156. Bottled at 90-proof. Though to be mash of 75% corn, 13% rye, and 12% barley. $120 MSRP

Aroma

Old oak, musty, mint, vanilla, menthol, chocolate. Chemical like rubber worm fish lures. A little medicinal bandaid. I guess it smells better than that probable sounds.

Flavor

Sweet caramel, vanilla, honey. Oak, light, Fruity strawberries. Roasted, charred wood, mint and mildly astringency in the finish.

Overall

So, I started writing my notes before doing research on this release. I was surprised this was an 18 year old version of Elijah Craig because it seems lighter, softer, and more delicate than what I’d expect from a super-aged Bourbon that was already fairly robust at 12 years. I was thinking it might have been aged on the bottom floor of the warehouse, and now smart = me I guess because that seems to be the case.

At least with my barrel, I would throw out the window preconceived ideas of super-aged Bourbons. I found Elijah Craig 18 to be surprisingly sweet and honey filled, and while the wood is present, it’s not overly assertive. While I get some weird stuff in the aroma, it doesn’t seem to translate to the sip. Some of that medicinal and musty stuff is there, but it seems to all come together and work. I think this is a very nice Bourbon. Keep in mind, this is coming from someone who generally doesn’t prefer older Bourbons.

I’m not going to hold a price hike against Elijah Craig 18. $45 would be a ridiculous price, but $120 seems silly to me regardless of age. Still, I fully expect it to quickly sell out. Also, keep in mind this is considered a limited edition, so it shouldn’t be surprising if a premium was added to that $120 price.

If you appreciate great Bourbon enough to pay for it, I think the price is worthy of at least one purchase, but for me it’s not a regular item.

Recommendation

Buy a Bottle / 3.5 out of 5.0

(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.)

Links and Other Reviews

Heaven Hill’s Website

Larceny Wheated Bourbon – Review

Larceny Background

Larceny
Larceny

Every great Bourbon needs a great story, and as we know, sometimes these stories can stretch the truth if not be an outright fantasy. Old Fitzgerald was a fantasy of the best distiller (John E. Fitzgerald) making the best Bourbon in the land that most can’t buy. As it turns out, there actually may have been a John E. Fitzgerald, but he wasn’t a distiller. Fitzgerald was actually a Treasury agency working for the Feds. The new story goes that John E. Fitzgerald was charged with safeguarding stocks of whiskey, but he happened to have a taste for the brown stuff. He was known to have “sampled” barrels to the extent some barrels became pretty light. When these barrels were removed from the warehouses, staff called them Fitzgerald barrels due to the considerable loss.

Heaven Hill branded Larceny with this new legend.

Details

None, Barrels aged 6-12 Years Old. 92-proof. Wheated Bourbon. Paid $25.

Aroma

Brown sugar, nail polish, charred oak, fruity, cherries and bananas. Vanilla.

Flavor

Sweet up front with bunches of caramel and vanilla. Cinnamon. Some harshness sort of medicinal. Roasted corn. Some alcohol heat. Thick oak flavors with a little astringency. Nice thick mouthfeel.

Overall

Larceny is a nice Bourbon and given it’s wheated and a good price are bonuses. If you’re a fan of wheated Bourbons, that is Bourbons with a recipe of wheat rather than spicy rye, you don’t have a lot options that are both budget friendly and found on shelves. Larceny isn’t as widely available as many mainstream Bourbons, but where it is distributed it seems to be on the shelves.

Larceny is lively with some bite, but also carries some age with nice oak profile. The lively side I’m getting the roasted corn and rougher alcohols I usually get from younger Bourbons, but nice dulled oak profiles from more aged Bourbons. The first few sips I get a little harshness, but once I ease into Larceny the palate adjusts and it’s more enjoyable. If needed, a little splash of water helps. Larceny reminds me of a couple other Heaven Hill Bourbons I enjoy in Elijah Craig 12 and Henry McKenna Single Barrel. All have that Heaven Hill profile I dig, but have a little edge.

Being about $25 is a nice price for a quality Bourbon and certainly worth checking out.

Recommendation

Buy a Glass – 3.5 out of 5.0 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 and Further Research

If you’re looking to check out other wheated Bourbons in this price range, I’d suggest looking at Weller 12, Old Weller Antique, and Maker’s Mark.

Links & Other Reviews

 

Evan Williams White Label Bottled-in-Bond – Review

Evan Williams White Label Background

Evan Williams White Label
Evan Williams White Label

Evan Williams White Label is a part of the Evan Williams line from Heaven Hill Distillery. There are a number of Evan Williams bottling, but it seem the most popular are the 100-proof Bottled in Bond (AKA White label), 86-proof Black Label, 86.6-proof Evan Williams 1783, and an 86.6-proof Evan Williams Single Barrel.

I’m a fan of the Evan Williams Single Barrel which is available in yearly batches. Actually I dig Heaven Hill in general with a number of pretty great Bourbons for the money. With Evan Williams White Label we’ve got an exceptional value with a lower shelf Bourbon that drinks above its price tag.

Details

Bottled at 100-proof.  No age statement. Standard rye Bourbon thought to be 75% corn, 13% rye, and 12% barley. Paid $15.

Aroma

Corn mash/roasted corn. Nutty. Pecans. Caramel, charred wood. Sawdust.

Flavor

Similar to the nose. Big roasted corn, nutty. On the sweet side. A little alcohol heat and some zip. Some fruitiness. Rich, roasted flavors. Slight drying in the finish.

Overall

On its own Evan Williams White Label isn’t anything special, but factoring in price it becomes  more impressive. There’s a nuttiness that remind me of the Beam flavor profile, but not quite the same. Otherwise seems like typical Heaven Hill to me with full, rich, roasted flavors.

To me, the dominate flavor is corn and is a little hot and lively. Guessing it’s on the younger side. There’s no age statement, but being Bottled-in-Bond it must be at least four years old. The dominant cereal flavor to me is a off-putting, but the rest is just fine. Nice caramel, a little roasted nuts, and like I said, a lively Bourbon with just a little bite.

Price on this is pretty great. If you’re looking for a house mixer, it’s hard to beat this flavor and price. The 100-proof and youth should stand up well with a mixer. Also, if you’re on a budget, this will also do just fine for sipping.

Recommendation

Try a Glass – 2.0 out of 5.0 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 and Further Research

Personally, I’d prefer Evan Williams Single Barrel with more mellow flavors, even though it also loses a bunch of character in the upgrade. A similar Henry McKenna 10 Year also from Heaven Hill is a good choice for retaining more of the woody-roasted depth with added mellowness.

A real good alternative, however, in the price range could be Old Ezra also made at Heaven Hill. Getting out to other standard rye Bourbons could be Wild Turkey 101.

Links & Other Reviews

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch 7

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch 7
Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch 7

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.

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
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.

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch 6 @140.2° – Review

Background

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch 6
Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch 6

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.

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

Details

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

Aroma

Woody and roasted. Dark caramel, raisins, vanilla, a bit perfumey. Wood polish. Cherries, mint.

Flavor

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.

Overall

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.