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Review #114 Elijah Craig Toasted Barrel

Distillery: Heaven Hill

Proof: 94

Age: NAS

Mashbill: 78% Corn, 12% Malted Barley, 10% Rye

BACKGROUND: Elijah Craig bourbon is named for a minister who opened a distillery in Kentucky in 1789. Legend claims that Craig is actually the one who invented the process of aging whiskey in charred barrels after his barn caught fire and burnt his barrels. However, he continued to age the whiskey in those charred barrels and the folks who tasted those whiskeys loved it and he continued to age his whiskey in charred oak barrels.

Elijah Craig Toasted Barrel Finish was an addition to the Elijah Craig line in 2020. It will be an allocated, national release every year in September. This is from their first batch which, according to the Press Release from Heaven Hill, "The process begins with fully matured Small Batch, which is dumped and then re-entered at barrel proof into a second, custom toasted new oak barrel designed in partnership with Independent Stave Company. Made with 18-month air dried oak, the finishing barrel is first toasted and then flash-charred using a moderate toast temperature and toast time. An extensive research and development process resulted in a final barrel toast profile bringing forward dark sugar flavors within the wood to create a balance of smokiness and sweetness after months of finishing."

NOSE: The nose is very sweet and rich with notes of fresh hot caramel, fresh earthy soil, maple, perfectly toasted oak, rich clove, and oranges. Overall, the nose is very sweet and well balanced with the slightest burn at the end. (23/25)

PALATE: Up front I pulled notes of caramel, fresh maple syrup, pine, and oak with slight undertones of fresh rye bread. As I took a second sip, the whiskey I pulled some cinnamon notes and vanilla notes. The whiskey is very well balanced and smooth and the whiskey has a fuller mouthfeel with slight spice and tingle. The flavor profile is characteristic of a toasted whiskey with the sweet notes and oak notes. (35/40)

FINISH: It rounds the whiskey out with a nice long finish that hints at some age with some tannins and leather which is similar to some of the older private barrels we have tried. The finish is full of oak, cracked pepper, caramel, and sweet cinnamon. (23/25)

VALUE: Elijah Craig Toasted Barrel has an SRP of $50 although it is often marked up to around $90. I would pay up to $70 as toasted barrel finished whiskeys are hard to come by. However, given Elijah Craig Small Batch is only $35 this is a nice premium for a toasted finish. (7/10)

Overall: 88/100

FINAL THOUGHTS: Elijah Craig Toasted Barrel was a great addition by Heaven Hill. It adds a new dynamic to the Elijah Craig and Heaven Hill regularly released whiskeys. This was incredibly rich, smooth, sweet, and tasty whiskey at a fair price point. I highly recommend this whiskey to everyone!

Similar & Slightly Better Whiskey: Michter's Toasted Barrel Bourbon

Similar & Equal Whiskey: Woodford Reserve Double Oaked

Similar & Slightly Worse Whiskey: Old Forester 1910

Tell us what you think and give us some feedback!

Scoring Legend:

96-100: The perfect dram, juice of the gods

90-95: Near perfect, truly incredible whiskey

85-89: Amazing whiskey, will always try to keep a backup bottle of this

80-84: Very good, some minor flaws here or there

75-79: Good, quite enjoyable to drink, Will try and keep a bottle on the shelf

70-74: Solid, wouldn’t go out of my way to get this

60-69: Decent, would offer this up to non whiskey drinkers

50-59: Not my cup of tea

Below 50: Give away

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