Elijah Craig Toasted Barrel Bourbon Review Header

Elijah Craig Toasted Barrel Bourbon Review

In Bourbon Whiskey Reviews by Patrick "Pops" Garrett3 Comments

Charred to start. Toasted to finish. Our fully matured Small Batch Bourbon, finished in toasted oak barrels for added complexity.Heaven Hill Distillery
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Elijah Craig Toasted Barrel Bourbon

  • DISTILLER: Heaven Hill Distillery
  • MASH BILL: 78% Corn  |  12% Rye  |  10% Malted Barley
  • Cooperage:  Aged initial in new charred oak barrels (same as regular Elijah Craig bourbon) and then re-entered at barrel proof into a second, custom toasted new oak barrel for finishing. 
  • AGE: NAS - No age statement but approximately 10-12 years plus finishing time in 2nd barrel.
  • YEAR: 2020
  • PROOF: 94 Proof (47% ABV)
  • MSRP: $49.99
  • BUY ONLINE: Wine-Searcher.com

NOSE: Caramel  |  Butter  |  Toasted Marshmallow

TASTE: Heavy Baking Spices  |  Black Pepper  |  Tannic Oak  |  Hint of Cocoa

FINISH: Long warm fade out of baking spices and oak tannins.

SHARE WITH: It’s a good one to share with folks who like toasted barrel profile or enjoy exploring how different barrel finishes impact a whiskey they know and love.

WORTH THE PRICE: At $49 it’s not an expensive bottle. Folks that like exploring how different finishing barrels affect whiskey will have no problem paying the price. For those looking for something as good, or better than standard Elijah Craig, you’ll find this one overpriced.

BOTTLE, BAR OR BUST: If I could rate this on the nose alone I’d recommend a Buy rating but after tasting it I strongly suggest trying it at a Bar before you grab a bottle for your home bar. At the end of the day, it gets a BAR rating from me.

OVERALL: The nose on the Elijah Craig Toasted Barrel Bourbon is lovely. It’s more robust and more complex than the standard Elijah Craig expression we all know and love. As such, I was super excited to give this one a taste finally.

Unfortunately, the flavor profile didn’t live up to the aroma. The sweet buttery caramel aromas that made the nose so lovey are nowhere to be found on the palate. Instead, they swapped places with hot baking spices touched with some black pepper for good measure. It drinks hotter than the stated proof. As a result, the spice mixes with a stronger than expected oak that is bitter and not what I expected. There was a slight touch of cocoa, but it was all too fleeting to counterbalance the tannic oak.

The finish is nice and warm, but it plays out as a battle between sharp baking spices and bitter oak. Not the type of lingering finish one expects from Elijah Craig.

I’m disappointed to say that this one misses the mark for my palate. I’m usually a big fan of Elijah Craig’s expressions, so this one leaves me a bit perplexed. I’m curious to hear what others have to say when they get around trying this one out. Make sure to share your thoughts in the comments below. I’m hopeful that others who enjoy a more robust oak profile in their bourbon will dig this one more than me.

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

Elijah Craig Launches Toasted Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

New expression finished in custom toasted new oak barrels continues Elijah Craig’s spirit of innovation

BARDSTOWN, Ky. – Elijah Craig, a leading premium Kentucky Bourbon, today announced the launch of Elijah Craig Toasted Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. The latest line extension from the award-winning Elijah Craig family, Toasted Barrel adds an extra layer of sweet oak complexity to the traditional Bourbon.

The process begins with fully matured Small Batch, which is dumped and then re-entered at barrel proof into a second, custom toasted new oak barrel designed in partnership with Independent Stave Company. Made with 18-month air dried oak, the finishing barrel is first toasted and then flash-charred using a moderate toast temperature and toast time. An extensive research and development process resulted in a final barrel toast profile bringing forward dark sugar flavors within the wood to create a balance of smokiness and sweetness after months of finishing. The resulting taste is big, rich and complex with spice and pepper notes that fade into milk chocolate with a hint of smoke as the finish lingers with chocolate and baking spices. Only charred new American oak barrels are used throughout the process to maintain the standards of identity class and type designation for Straight Bourbon Whiskey.

“Elijah Craig Toasted Barrel pays homage to our namesake’s pioneering spirit as the first to char oak barrels through thoughtful innovation in the barrel-aging process,” said Max Stefka, Elijah Craig Senior Brand Manager. “It was a pleasure partnering with Independent Stave Company to create a custom toast profile and char level designed to best complement fully matured Elijah Craig. Twice barreled for nuanced flavor, Toasted Barrel showcases a Straight Bourbon process unique in the marketplace.”

In 1789, Elijah Craig was the first to char oak Barrels to make Bourbon, earning his place in history as the “Father of Bourbon.” Toasted Barrel celebrates this pioneering spirit by pushing the Bourbon barrel-aging process a step further. Elijah Craig Toasted Barrel is bottled at 94 proof, consistent with Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon and Elijah Craig Straight Rye Whiskey, and joins the rest of the award-winning lineup of Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey and Elijah Craig Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.

Packaged in the iconic Elijah Craig bottle, Toasted Barrel is distinguished by new bottle decoration, face, side and neck labels with smoky blue features. With an SRP of $49.99, Elijah Craig Toasted Barrel will launch nationally on an allocated basis this September.

Disclaimer: Heaven Hill Distillery provided Bourbon & Banter with a sample of their product for this review. We appreciate their willingness to allow us to review their products with no strings attached. Thank you.

About the Author

Patrick "Pops" Garrett

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Patrick Garrett, "Pops" as he's known to his friends, is the founder of Bourbon & Banter, LLC and claims the title of Chief Drinking Officer (CDO). A long-time marketing professional and photographer, Pops hopes to use his professional experience and love of Bourbon to spread the Bourbon Gospel and help everyone realize the therapeutic power of having a good drink with friends. Read Patrick's full profile.


  1. Avatar

    This is currently my at home bar bourbon. I have finished a few bottles this year and I really enjoy it. I agree itdoes taste a bit hotter than the label States but I do enjoy as mell and taste, like you said it is not horrible for this price. I enjoy reading how others taste this bourbon. Have a great day!

    1. Patrick Author

      Scott, this one is different than the normal EC bourbon you can get everywhere. It doesn’t get released nationally until September. And then it will be allocated.

  2. Avatar

    After along day , my palate is ready to really taste an feel the work of this relaxing drink . Definitely a personal experience for me . Quik shots r not this bourbon. MR. SUGARBEAR!

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