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KCM Spirit Reviews

Monday, August 27, 2012

Review 95: Elijah Craig 12 Year

Review 95:
Elijah Craig 12 yr: 47% abv

Representing Heaven Hill Distillery, Elijah Craig brings us a 12 year old statement of their bourbon. This should probably make you raise an eyebrow, methinks. With Jim Beam being 4 years old, and Jack Daniels being 4 years old, and even Jim Beam Black at 8 years old, this is quite an old Bourbon. We haven’t seen a ton of age statements, so this is un
ique. What does it matter? Well at the price of this whiskey (~$25), you should be surprised it’s as old as it is. Then again, this means that there is a potential that it just sucks in quality as a compromise. Well we wanted to find out. And if 12 years old seems a little young for your bourbon, they also sell an 18 year, which we might review in the future. Let’s also get this piece out of the way: 47%...yes, it is noticeable, and more distilleries need to bottle at this abv. Let’s dig into it now.

Elijah Craig will greet you with a classic nose you’d expect out of a bourbon, but don’t rush past it. This whiskey puts some heavy emphasis on the grain characters to it, like malted barley, corn, and wheat are all prominent. There is a strong oakiness to it, along with some dark caramel, honey, and molasses notes to it. We also found some spicy notes of nutmeg, and even a slight pear-like fruitiness to it. The strong nose is intoxicating, and makes the taste even more anticipated. So we stopped anticipating it, and drank it.

The arrival had oak, cinnamon, and honey to it, all though it was relatively mild. In the body, there is still oakiness to it, but also strong vanilla intrinsic to the bourbon character. The maltiness that was in the nose before is still around, but some unique notes of black pepper, oatmeal, and then the classic cinnamon resides in the body. The body did not have great depth, but covered unique flavors, and strong flavors as well. The finish to Elijah Craig is medium-long, and adds some character to the bourbon. Some things you’ve already tasted which linger: vanilla, oak, and pepper. Things you haven’t tasted before that make you happy you didn’t stop thinking about it: red apple, ginger, and brown sugar. So there you are. That’s it. This isn’t a bourbon that will keep you in your seat for weeks, thinking about it. It’s a bourbon that will be thoroughly enjoyable, with depth and moderate complexity for a very affordable price. The oak might be a little over-dominant, which makes us skeptical of the 18 year statement, but we’ll cross that bridge when we reach it. It’s worth buying, and it’s worth drinking. 
Score: 8.5/10

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