...where distraction is the main attraction.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Elijah Craig NAS Small Batch, bottled ca. 2016

And then Heaven Hill dropped Elijah Craig's age statement. And everyone was shocked, SHOCKED. Now 8-12 year old whiskies were in the mix per the marketing blurbs, but those numbers were worthless since they were not listed on the label, nor did this become Elijah Craig 8 year old Small Batch.

I found this bottle in Newcastle, IN, during a drive last year. The printed bottle code has a 16 on it, so it's very possible this was from the first batches of this new bourbon. Here's a look at that back label now:

This was Sample C for the 20 other participants in the Elijah Craig Taste Off, while it was the first glass in my own blind tasting. Overall, the group gave it a decent score and it tied in second, considerably ahead of the 12 year old it had replaced. Meanwhile, I ranked it dead last.

As per the previous reviews this week, I tasted this bourbon blindly, then did another tasting when I knew what was in my glass. 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: no age statement
Bottled: around 2016
Alcohol by Volume: 47%

When I didn't know what I was drinking

“Aromatic woodiness” in the nose, which I think is connected to the vanilla bean and jasmine notes I’d also listed. Then cherry candy, peanut butter and brine. It all fades quickly.

The mild, warm palate leads with vanilla, tart berries and tart limes. Sawdust and dango. An all too brief moment of tropical fruit candy.

The warm finish is all sawdust and salty caramel.

When I DID know what I was drinking

The flat and cardboard-y nose has some berry fruitiness and peanuts.

The palate is very sweet, with honey, berries and citrus. Also some oats and peppery tannins.

The moderate length finish is tannic, tart and sweet, with a little bit of that oat note.

Not a fan of it either time. It isn't craft whiskey bad, but it's getting much too close, especially considering it's a bourbon brand that had produced much higher quality up to this point. I found it a considerable step down from the back label 12yo that was bottled only a year before. It had the weakest nose of the 5 ECs, but folks with sweeter palates than mine would probably like the taste of it more than I did.

Availability - It's still around, though one has to search for it.
Rating - 73