Classification: Straight Bourbon
Company: Heaven Hill
Distillery: Heaven Hill
Age: 12 Years
Mashbill: 75% Corn, 13% Rye, 12% Malted Barley
MSRP: $60 (2019)
Hot off the heels of Batch A119, which we tasted a few weeks ago, comes the latest batch of Elijah Craig Barrel Proof.
This particular batch is noteworthy as it clocks in at a lower proof than ever before for the brand. This makes it inherently easier to drink, as the brand often lands on the hot side of 130 proof. Instead of having to water down a previous batch to match this release, this is batched uncut at 122.2 proof. Theoretically, this makes its flavor profile taste rather potent despite being lower in proof than previous releases as the lower proof should allow more flavor to show through. For that reason, this particular batch might get more attention than normal.
The nose features very traditional bourbon aromas at first whiff. Steadfast scents of vanilla, caramel, and oak flow out of the glass and signal its high proof. Additional notes of apple, apricot, and faint orange rind help add some complexity. On the palate, it’s surprisingly citrusy at first sip, with lemon and lime greeting your tongue before creamy caramel, toffee, and dark fruits take over. The finish is heavy on oak, which translates into a long, dry, and mildly bitter aftertaste. Some sweetness is present, before spice rolls in.
Heaven Hill long ago proved the value and quality consistency of Elijah Craig Barrel Proof. It would be more of a surprise nowadays if they released a batch that was less than great. Elijah Craig Barrel Proof may not always be the most complex barrel proof bourbon on the market, but it's known for its richness and continues to be a great buy..
Overall Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch B519 is a very palatable sipper that allows the brand’s flavor profile to shine a bit more, instead of fighting against its proof. Coincidently, last year’s George T. Stagg also came in its lowest released proof at 124.9. We noted this allowed the depth of flavors to really come through without a mask of heat. That is true here too, but Elijah Craig doesn’t quite have the same overly unique flavor profile that Stagg has. This means Batch B519’s flavor intensity might not be tasted to the same degree as last year’s Stagg experienced. Because of this lower proof, I also wouldn’t be surprised at all if some called this batch their favorite Elijah Craig Barrel Proof batch yet.