Elijah Craig – 12 Year Old – Straight Bourbon Whiskey | 47% (94 Proof) $26.99 (BevMo)
Color/Appearance: Looks about perfect in the glass. Nice legs and amber for days. Thankfully the bottle is rather uninspiring with a complete lack of upscale marketing. I like its short shape but its extra wide top does make it hard to pour cleanly without spilling a few precious drops.
Nose: Vanilla, dried cherries, oak, burned sugar, cinnamon, stewed apples and brown sugar. This smells really good, it’s vibrant, lively, fresh and easy to like. Its got a classic and confident aroma, lacking a little in the really deep notes of complexity but making up for it with its perfect balance.
Palate: Comes in strong and fast with a blazing hot sweetness. Fully greets the palate with a rush of caramelized brown sugar, vanilla, cotton candy and cinnamon red hots. But this wall of sweetness is structured around an equally impressive oaky backbone. A high voltage show, right in the epicenter of bourbon’s appeal, brash but pitch perfect. In between these firework blasts other nice notes of cider and caramel stand out.
Finish: Vibrant and long, tingling of cinnamon and black pepper. Dry and crisp while also warming and lip smackingly delicious.
Overall: Not sure how Heaven Hill manages to fill the shelves with this great twelve year old bourbon. It is one of the best values in bourbon and is a quality drink irregardless of price. Maybe a little too hot and oaky for my personal tastes but it has tons of flavor and ticks all the boxes for what you want in a bourbon. No reason at all not to keep some of this around. I dream of finding some of the cask-strength version but, alas like most that is desirable in the bourbon world here, it would be like seeing a unicorn.