Welcome to another installment of Whiskey You Can Drink, wherein I drink whiskey and tell you about it. Today’s entry is Elijah Craig Small Batch, another Heaven Hill bourbon weighing in at 94 proof. I paid about $28 for this bottle on sale, which is why you can drink it.
Elijah Craig was a Baptist preacher who settled in Kentucky and established a distillery around 1789. He is dubiously credited with being the first person to use charred oak barrels to age his whiskey, thus “inventing” bourbon. This whiskey originally had a 12-year age statement, but is now said to be a mix of 12-year and 8-year whiskeys. There is no standard for what constitutes a “small batch;” this bourbon is mixed from 200 barrels. Now, I am not widely bourboned, and I am not a Guy Who Claims To Know Stuff About Bourbon. I’m just a guy who likes whiskey. Nevertheless, this has got to be one of the bourbonest bourbons to ever bourbon.
What’s it smell like? Right away, I get 11 herbs and spices…………..……..bourbon……Kentucky..……never mind. Anyways, there is orange and vanilla, buttered cornbread(?), and maybe some brown sugar (does brown sugar have a smell? Wouldn’t that just be molasses? Fucked if I know, let’s just go with brown sugar for now). These are not dark and round, or sharp and pointy smells, just somewhere right in the middle. I’m not that good at the smell part. It smells like bourbon.
What’s it taste like? Up front there is orange and orange peel (orange zest? I dunno, some kind of shit like that. I mean, it’s orange, but ever so slightly bitter, too), and a hint of lime, with vanilla, clove and baking spices, and then black licorice at the back end. The finish is light, but builds up a bit after a few swallows, with a hint of cocoa lingering. It is semi-sweet, but also a little astringent. This is lighter and fruitier than something like Old Forester, but maybe not as bright and in-your-face as Buffalo Trace, with surprisingly little burn.
Should you buy it? Don’t let me spend you money for you, although some of you (*cough* Ellie *cough*) already have.
Will I buy it again? At the sale price, this is my go-to “middle shelf” bourbon for now, though there are probably a half-dozen more on my to-do list.
So what do you say, Deadsplinters? I know a couple of you have bought this based on my prior endorsement; let’s compare notes.