Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch C922 Bourbon Review
Somehow I've fallen off the Elijah Craig barrel proof train - I think it was when every store in the state of Massachusetts started getting single barrel picks. The excitement was there for about a month when the first few trickled in, but then they were absolutely everywhere. There was magic in the 3 release per year strategy, and honestly the blends are typically significantly better than the single barrels. There will always been exception, but the Elijah Craig barrel proof I fell in love with were the 2020 batches.
Now notwithstanding all the high bars hanging around, I feel obligated to give the latest batch a fair shake today. I haven't found the time (nor made it a priority) to get ahead of these batches, but at least take the most relevant batch to a shelf near you for a spin today. Just looking at the glass is getting me a little amped up; I don't normally discuss color, but this pour has a really unique red tinge in the edges of the dark amber liquid. Let's get into it!
Company on Label: Elijah Craig (Heaven Hill)
Whiskey Type: Bourbon
Mash Bill Percentages: 78% Corn, 10% Rye, 12% Barley
Age: 12 years
Further identification: Batch C922 is the third and final release of the 2022 calendar year
Nose: On first lifting the glass sweet bread pudding, confectioners sugar, and the rest of a proper patisserie rise to meet the nose deftly. Vanilla married in molasses coats the tight-grained oak cutting board in front of me. Visions come to mind of honey drizzles over a charcuterie board of sharp cheeses (not present in the aromas, just a mental proximity). There's just a hint of something savory lingering in the background. Soft black pepper gently contrasts a silky graham cracker cream pie. A swirl of the glass turns everything bright; white pepper vanilla bean, and funky Spring florals jump out at me. I keep running into a fairly solid wall of well-aged oak, so I'll have a sip to see if we can't find some more at play here.
Returning to the nose I find the barrel influence has been cranked up to 11 and it's old, leathery & delicious in the nose. Aromas of dates and figs battle at times where sweet meets savory. It's both a delicate & robust balance of flavor and finesse. The empty glass smells of honeysuckle, orange marmalade, and pure, silky vanilla perfume. Mmm.
Palate: My first sip is delectable. Buttercream frosting, eggnog and vanilla ice cream dance on the tongue before a burst of creamy cherry hots slides down the chest. I've got to admit - it's love at first sip here. There is a thick mouth coating of dark chocolate mixed with caramel and peanut M&M's that is prevalent everywhere that the liquid passed by. Another sip is heftier but still balanced and approachable. I find milk duds, maraschino cherry ice cream, caramel milk shake and buttery crescent rolls. I'm loving all the dessert flavors that are being stirred up here. A larger sip and swish does elicit some of the latent spice, but it's still all baked-in, not a dominant characteristic. Overall this is a creamy, dreamy, delicious pour. My last sip is a treat again after a sip of water. The buttery bakery tones return incredibly strong & leave me with an impossibly long linger of a Danish pastry with just a touch of raspberry.
(Just wow. One of my favorites.)
Well, the blending team at Heaven Hill have really outdone themselves again. This is very reminiscent of the quality of the 2020 batches I know and love. I'd take this over countless other much rarer, allocated releases. I think this one has rekindled my love for this brand. Elijah baby, we're back. Cheers!