...where distraction is the main attraction.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Elijah Craig 12 year old Small Batch, 12 on front label

Sample E for the Elijah Craig tasters, #2 for me, was this bottle of Elijah Craig 12 year old Small Batch. This is the version of Elijah Craig a lot of us remember best, I think. Not only is from the 12 year old days, but it was from when they listed that 12 right on the front label. This bottle, purchased during a dusty hunt in Buena Park, CA, is likely from 2014, the final full year of the front label red 12.

Though tied in 2nd place in the Taste Off overall rankings, it scored significantly lower than the first place EC, and without my own ranking it would have fallen to third place.

As with the other four ECs, I tasted this bourbon blindly, then did another tasting when I knew exactly what I'd poured. I've listed both sets of notes below. The final rating is weighted heavily towards the blind tasting experience, unless otherwise noted.

Distiller: Heaven Hill
Brand: Elijah Craig
Region: Bardstown, Kentucky
Distillery: DSP-KY-1
Type: Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Age: minimum 12 years
Bottled: 2014
Alcohol by Volume: 47%

The nose is a bit flat and there’s less oak than some of the others, at first. It needs time to open. Then there’s plenty of decent oak, more vanilla and caramel than lumber or sawdust. There’s also Purple Stuff, roses, paper and a hint of smoke.

The oak is “woodier” in the palate. But there’s also some tangy fruit punch and unripe melon. Bits of earth and smoke.

Melon and green herbs highlight the otherwise sweet finish.

An intense barrel char note sits right up front in the nose. There’s also a lot of dark chocolate. Then some black pepper, envelope glue and simple syrup.

The palate is minty, bright and orange-y. A good balance of sweet and tart.

The finish is sweet and tangy like orange candy.

Though I ranked it second during the blind tasting, I liked it better when I knew what I was drinking. In fact, there's a bit of difference between the two sets of notes. There wasn't a lot of time for oxygen to affect the whiskey, so perhaps there were some unconscious things going on during the second tasting. In any case, this Elijah Craig proves to be simple stuff, but very easy drinking, a good everyday bourbon.

Availability - Secondary market, or random dumb luck dusty hunting
Rating - 83