What comes to mind when you think of 18 years old? I suspect that many of you think about pseudo-mature teenagers still living off their parents in desperate need of a few more years of growing up and maturation. (If “18-year old” conjured up anything less pure in nature we won’t judge you but please remember this isn’t “that kind” of website.)
When talking about the Elijah Craig 18-Year-Old Single Barrel Bourbon I can tell you that it’s anything but immature. No sir! There’s nothing in this bourbon that screams out, “hide your car keys and lock your liquor cabinet!” This is a smooth, mature bourbon that is always welcome in my glass and in my bourbon collection.
According to Heaven Hill Distilleries, makers of Elijah Craig:
“Elijah Craig 18-Year-Old Single Barrel Bourbon is the oldest Single Barrel Bourbon available in the world. Only a handful of the millions of barrels of Bourbon aging in Kentucky have been allowed to mature this long.
The brand carries the name of Rev. Elijah Craig, the man who discovered the method of making true Kentucky Bourbon when he stored his wares in barrels that had been charred in a fire.”
That last part about the Rev. Elijah Craig being the one to discover the “method of making true Kentucky Bourbon” is widely disputed but I don’t think you’ll find many bourbon lovers who don’t agree that EJ 18 is a fantastic pour.
Whether you like or hate my review, let me know in the comments.
- Bourbon Name: Elijah Craig 18 Year Single Barrel
- Year: Bottled in 1990
- How I Drank It: Neat, in my special bourbon glass (please don’t be jealous)
- My Nose Noticed:* Cinnamon Spice | Butter | Vanilla
- First Sip: Oak | Vanilla | Smoke | Hint of Caramel
- The Burn: Burn is slow on the uptake across the tongue but oh, so welcome. Lasts quite a bit after you swallow and leaves a very satisfying warmth.
- Neat, Splash or Rocks: I think this one is perfect for drinking neat. I tried it with a splash of water but it muted the flavors, exposing the raw alcohol.
- Share With: People you like and want to let in on a bourbon secret. I don’t think enough people give this one the credit it deserves.
- Worth The Price: For less $40, you get a bourbon that’s been aged for 18 years. Let me say that again….18 years. If you can’t do the math, I have some vodka I’d like to sell you.
- Bottle, Bar or Bust: Everybody should have a bottle of this at home. But then again, that will make it harder for me to find it when I need it. I highly recommend adding this one to your collection.
*I like to let my bourbon sit in the glass for at least 5 minutes before I start to smell it or have a drink. I find that it’s better to let some of the alcohol waft off before diving in. If I’m drinking bourbon on the rocks, I skip the waiting and dive in both feet first.
**Some of you refer to this as the “finish” but let’s be honest. Don’t we all just want to know if it burns good?
Good. You’re still reading the review, even after the footnotes. Did I mention that this bourbon is 18 years old? Eighteen! When was the last time you drank something that old? Sure, Pappy Van Winkle’s has older bourbons but not at this price point.
Check out the label from my actual bottle.
I’m sorry, but it doesn’t get much cooler than that my friends.