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Elijah Craig Small Batch Barrel Proof Review

In Bourbon Whiskey Reviews by Brent JosephLeave a Comment


Elijah Craig Barrel Proof is a bold and honest expression of what charred oak barrel aging can do for Bourbon, from the man who originated the process.Heaven Hill
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Elijah Craig Small Batch Barrel Proof


  • DISTILLER: Heaven Hill
  • BATCH#: B517 (May 2017)
  • MASH BILL: Heaven Hill’s traditional bourbon mash bill – 75% Corn  |  13% Rye  |  12% Malted Barley
  • AGE: 12 Years
  • YEAR: 2017
  • PROOF: 124.2 (62.1% ABV)
  • MSRP: $55.00
NOSE: Alcohol | Caramel | Cocoa | Clove | Anise

TASTE: Oak | Mint | Herbal | Rye

FINISH: Long with a big warm Kentucky Hug that flows down into your chest. Not a burn, but you know it’s there. But thin with more cinnamon. It’s a bit thin on the mouthfeel but not in a negative way. This isn’t an overly sweet bourbon, but it’s also not too oaky. IMO, it’s just right.

SHARE WITH: Serious bourbon drinkers and fans of Barrel Proof limited or allocated releases. Not for first timers.

WORTH THE PRICE: Yes. Retail ranges from $55.00 to $69.99 and it’s worth it, especially considering that every release is a bit different.

BOTTLE, BAR OR BUST: Buy a bottle for your home bar if you can find it.

OVERALL: I was thrilled to find a bottle at my local grocery store in their specialty liquor/wine shop. I didn’t think I’d ever find a limited release at a grocery store! This isn’t my favorite Barrel Proof bourbon, but it’s a damn good one. Especially for $70 considering what some of these newer brands are asking for their juice that is either sourced or just plain terrible. I won’t be killing this in one night, it will be enjoyed with good friends and people who can appreciate what it is and it’s complex flavors.

Learn more about Brent’s whiskey preferences and check out more of his reviews…

Made in the same tradition as other award-winning Elijah Craig Bourbons, this bottle is an essential experience for lovers of great-tasting Bourbon. Uncut, straight from the barrel without chill filtering, the nose, taste, and finish created by twelve years of aging are preserved in their simplest form. At full Barrel Proof, you can enjoy Elijah Craig much the same way our Master Distillers do when they sample straight from the barrel in our Kentucky rickhouses. Or, add water to reduce the proof to exactly where you want it.

COLOR: Deep Amber

NOSE: Caramel with toasted oak, fruit notes of apple and orange

TASTE: Rich vanilla, caramel, and butterscotch along with spices of black pepper & cinnamon at the back of the palate

FINISH: Nicely layered showcasing all flavors, fades slowly then lingers as it cools

Barrel Proof Batches

Each batch of Elijah Craig Barrel Proof is an uncut Small Batch of 12-year-old Bourbon bottled straight from the barrel. The variance in proof from batch to batch presents a unique opportunity to explore the impact of the angel’s share and the resulting proof in a small batch of barrels.

The first letter of the batch number indicates which of that year’s releases the bottle was a part of starting with “A”, while the second digit is a number that determines the month of the year the bottle was released. The third and fourth digits indicate the year.



Elijah Craig Small Batch Barrel Proof Background Info

Heaven Hill has been releasing their Elijah Craig bourbon as a 12-Year-Old Barrel Proof since the Fall of 2013 at a rate of about three a year. This is the 14th overall release of the Elijah Craig Barrel Proof offering and their second release of 2017. In the past I’ve run hot and cold with these releases, some of them I’ve enjoyed and some of them I didn’t care much for. One of my favorite things about this bourbon is that it is still attainable, especially for a limited release product. I’ve paid retail for every bottle and never had to resort to the secondary market to find it. I’ve found bottles on shelves in liquor stores and even grocery stores. This is the first time I was able to find this in their new(er) bottle though.


About the Author

Brent Joseph

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Brent was born and raised in Indianapolis, IN. After graduating from the University of Kansas with a degree in Journalism, he moved back to Indy where he eventually resurrected his family's brand of all beef kosher style hot dogs and opened a restaurant, King David Dogs, in downtown Indianapolis. When he's not juggling the many duties of an entrepreneur, he can usually be found relaxing at home with his wife, their twin boys, and their two dogs. Brent is a member of the Bourbon Society of Indianapolis, a BBQ enthusiast, and a cigar aficionado. Three things that are even better when enjoyed together with good friends. If Brent is not talking about bourbon, he's probably talking about sports, in particular, NFL football and Kansas Jayhawks basketball. You can follow his blog, BBQ and Bourbon here: http://bbqbourbon.tumblr.com/.