The nose is truly amazing, a wonderful assault on the senses.
Um ... I only have one bottle?
Elijah Craig Barrel Proof bourbons are definitely a favorite here among us writers, and generally are in the broader bourbon community as well. We have already reviewed the previous two 2018 batches of ECBP – the B518 batch and the A118 batch. If you read those reviews, yes I will wait, you will see that they are fairly highly rated.
Given how good the 2017 releases were, I am sure that people wondered whether 2018 would be a let down, or whether Heaven Hill could continue the brand momentum gained from 2017’s award winning batches. So far, 2018 is another stellar year for barrel proof Elijah Craig. The third release, batch C918, was released in September as expected. How does it compare to the previous batches?
- Distilled, matured, and bottled at the Heaven Hill Distillery in Bardstown, KY
- Cask type: new charred American oak barrels
- Mash bill: 75% Corn, 13% Rye, 12% Barley
- Age: 12 years old
- ABV: 65.7%
- Non-chill filtered
Nose: Just a wonderful assault of caramel, toffee and burnt sugar. Oak and tobacco permeate the sweets, providing foundation, balance, and depth. There is just a hint of cotton candy as well. This is a really excellent aroma.
Palate: It starts oily but gets richer as it sits in your mouth. Flavors are not as strong as the nose, but caramel, tobacco and toffee develop and dominate. Dark cherry and chocolate make an appearance after a while, providing a lovely complexity heading into the finish.
Finish: Smoky and long lasting. Tobacco, caramel and burnt sugar ultimately give way to dark cherries. As the finish comes to a close, the cotton candy reappears. It is a little warming, but it feels right with the smokiness.
Buying Recommendation: Buy it now! If you can find this batch, I highly recommend it. This is just an absolutely fantastic bourbon. Elijah Craig Barrel Proof batches are always consistently very good, but this one outclasses the others from 2018 easily and in my opinion the A117 and C917 batches as well. Sadly, I did not have the B517 batch and cannot do a direct comparison.
At WBSE we use a true 100 point scale for scoring to allow whiskeys to further differentiate themselves (as opposed to a letter grade scale where 90% of whiskeys fall between 78-92). This allows you to more easily compare scores between different whiskeys. Here is how the scale breaks down:
1-49: Varying degrees of bad
60-69: Better than average
90+: Truly Exceptional
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