60.5% ABV (121 Proof), 750 ml
( On each bottle is an A, B, or C to indicate whether it was the first, second, or third release of the year. After the letter comes a number. This represents the month, and the last two numbers in the batch number are the year. That means this bottle, batch B522, is the second release of 2022, and came out in May.)
#1 on Whiskey Advocate's Top 20 Whiskies of 2017!
Review of B522 by the Spirits Review: "Appearance: Shade is a touch lighter this time but still the previous descriptors of Golden Grade A Amber Maple Syrup color, or for those not familiar with Maple Syrup grading, a nicely aging copper hold true. Similar to its cohorts, on swirling, it leaves a light to medium coating on the glass. The whiskey then slowly forms an edge line that crenelates and seemingly grudgingly, forming a few legs.
First Impression: A bit more heavy and lux on the nose than the previous release and a touch more of heaver aromatics. It still exhibits the usual markers for Elijah Craig with grain, caramel, vanilla, saddle soap, Vietnamese cinnamon, leather, orange peels or cherries, figs, spice, and a nice oak back to it. The dark fruit and orange notes sem a better more prominent in this release.Even at 121 proof the grain, wood/oak, and spirit end up blending nicely. After the addition of some (nonchlorinated) water, it opens up a bit with butter, leather, orange peel, dried fruit, fig jam, tobacco, old leather, and touches of oak char.
Taste: Honeyed, spicy, yet mellow entry even at 121 proof a testament to its quality and smoothness. I would recommend giving it a sip at full barrel proof just so you can appreciate the smoothness it has ( at that proof). This release of the barrel-proof Elijah Craig does match the nose/bouquet, with caramel and vanilla, with the char, oak, and leather that are signatures of the brand if a touch more open, effusive, and a bit tighter in the integration of the bouquet. If you want to appreciate the bouquet and taste even more add some water to open it up a bit. One of the things I like about barrel-proof spirits is you can proof them or mix them to your taste/requirements. Far too many whiskeys are already too watered down before you even get them these days – especially if you are making cocktails with them! With the addition of a little water, the bourbon opens its bouquet nicely and becomes a bit sweeter and open with the fruit and spice breaking out in the taste and a somewhat drier finish with dark fruit overtones. Overall more char and less sweet than a lot of other releases out there – which is fine with me. Not a fan of over-oaked but it should taste like it came from a barrel that has some age to it. Nicely warm, fruity, and slightly off-dry finish with lingering fruit, old leather, and char notes.
Drinks: Speaking of which… Recommend for mixing. Absolutely fabulous for a classic Manhattan ( and will stand up nicely to a heartier vermouth than some of the other releases) or An Old Fashioned. Makes a nicely meatier bourbon component in most of our favorite classic bourbon cocktails. This one has a nicely weighted feel and taste. Add some more ice and/or adjust the portions a little bit ( 1/4 or less (?) and/or stir it a bit longer to taste… You can add ice and water a lot easier than removing them. Enjoy!
Bottle: Elongated Horseshoe-shaped flask-type bottle somewhat taller and leaner looking than the older versions of Elijah Craig. Helpful notation below BARREL PROOF notation on the label “UNCUT, STRAIGHT FROM THE BARREL WITHOUT CHILL FILTRATION”
Other: We are going to go out on a limb here and suggest the reason we may be seeing barrel proof is for thee reasons; 1. The demand/fascination/call for Barrel Proof editions of a whiskey, 2. The shortage of stocks of vintage whiskey especially 18 years and older, 3. Glass shortage problems make it easier to bottle a barrel-proof that uses less bottles overall.
Final Thoughts. A well done and slightly bold departure from the company profile of late, harking back to an older time and taste profile."
Collections: Bourbon Whiskey Spirits Whiskey
Bottle Size: All bottles are 750ML unless otherwise noted.
21 and Over: Adult Signature Required
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