Home > American Spirits, Bourbon > Bourbon Review: Elijah Craig 12 Year

Bourbon Review: Elijah Craig 12 Year

Elijah Craig 12 Year:
Distiller: Heaven Hill Distilleries
Spirit: Small Batch Bourbon
Price: $22.95
ABV: 47%

Strong vanilla, vanilla, oak, agave nectar, cloves, and spices

Again, strong vanilla and caramel up front. It hits your tongue extremely smoothly, and a spice immediately follows. The last flavors to hit your tongue are certainly citrus and agave nectar (like a mild honey).

Leaves your mouth with a pleasant reminder of what you have been drinking.  The taste of alcohol velvetly lingers while keeping the wonderful flavors in your mouth: slightly oily, and a bit buttery.

“Vermont Sunset”  We opted for one of Josh’s current favorite cocktails  — named by Josh, yet adapted from the “Dave” of the  Magnificent Bastard Cocktail Contest:

1.5 parts Elijah Craig
.5 parts lemon juice
.5 parts maple syrup

As the Elijah Craig has remnant tastes of citrus, we thought it would balance nicely against the lemon juice.  And we were right!  The bourbon continues to shine, despite the strong presence displayed by the lemon juice and syrup.  We suspect that Elijah Craig will perform well in any of the classic bourbon cocktails.

Elijah Craig 12 comes in a very conservative and simple bottle.  Josh mentioned that it reminds him of prohibition style bottling: nothing too fancy, raised glass lettering, simple label, etc. I [Richard] certainly agree. While this will not add special aesthetic value to your home bar, it will stand out amongst the other bourbons due to its shape. It is not your archetypal bourbon bottle (tall and round or square); it is more short and plump. We aren’t overly impressed, but this bottle gets the job done.

Elijah Craig is a phenomenal bargain on sale, and a steal at its regular price (around $23) . While there are certainly better bourbons for a few more dollars, EC manages to hold its own with some much more expensive liquors. It is a good bourbon that does well on its own; however, it really shines in cocktails. I enjoy it straight, I really do, but the cocktail Josh made this evening was like pure candy for adults. Whatever mixers you use cover up any alcoholic flavors present in the whiskey, but the strong vanilla, caramel, and spice add a refined complexity to any cocktail  you want to make. If you can get this on sale, or below 20 dollars, make this a staple bourbon in your home bar (you will not find any better), otherwise I would spend the extra few dollars for Buffalo Trace or Eagle Rare (reviews coming soon).

Elijah Craig represents an extreme value considering it’s price point (as low as $14, up to a regular price of about $23).  Far outperforming the likes of Mr. Beam and his bastard Tennessee cousin, Elijah Craig is suitable for drinking straight and makes a very good cocktail.  This is safely added as a staple bourbon to your home bar.
Nose: Strong notes of vanilla and caramel followed by an almost equal note of smoke; there is a slight astringent aspect to the nose, but nothing offensive. If you really search for the nose, you will notice some oak and roasted nut notes as well.

Reviewed by Richard and Joshua Borean

Categories: American Spirits, Bourbon
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