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Elijah Craig Straight Rye Review - In Depth Tasting Notes for a Cocktail Mixer's Fever Dream

Elijah Craig Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey

I didn't see this release ever really get much attention. I've been mixing cocktails with it for a bit now and realized I first reviewed this on my instagram but never shared any thoughts here. It's hard to believe this was first introduced in 2019 and I'm just getting around to writing down my thoughts now. Well, better late than never, right? Barely legal ryes can certainly be hit or miss for me. Let's dive in on a quick review of Heaven Hill's shelfer rye, joining the likes of Pikesville and Rittenhouse.


Company on Label: Elijah Craig (Heaven Hill)

Whiskey Type: Straight Rye Whiskey

Mash Bill Percentages: 35% Corn, 51% Rye, 14% Barley

Proof: 94°

Age: NAS

Further identification: This is a shelfer release from Heaven Hill that has been readily available since 2019


Nose: Bright, bubbly, lovely citrus and floral rye just dances in the nose. It's a beautiful contrast to simple, musty bourbons that typically come in around this same proof. There's a subtle lemon peel and bubblegum mixture that does well to not overstimulate the nose. Where the nose is a bit light in complexity - the palate shines. The empty glass smells of honeysuckle, charcoal and a well seasoned grill grate.

Palate: Upfront this pour is bright and zesty. Lemon peel and cardamom tingle on the tongue. Light caramel and butterscotch fade into a nondescript bready medley. Hints of cinnamon and allspice sneak in on the back end. The linger is surprisingly long with vanilla dominating. Sugar cookie can be teased out as I nod my head in enjoyment. The mouthfeel is buttery as bakery delights get introduced in a whirlwind meeting of new friends. Late in the glass grilled street corn begins to take shape and my enjoyment grows. Complex contrasts of raspberry, sweet chili aioli, and level oak provide a really interesting neat sip. Though those notes together sound odd, they present more like a carousel - not quite mixing together, but their own distinct experiences capable of being pulled from at will. Drizzles of honey can be found amongst the stone fruit and Summer citrus medley. My last sip is like a Summer cookout; light effervescence of a can of Sprite mixes well with a slightly savory suggestion of barbecue chips. Mmm. There's so much that can be done here!


Rating: 4/5

My review purely rates the neat pour. Where you might draw more value from this whiskey is when you consider its price point. This is a huge value whiskey that makes exquisite cocktails. If you are going to mix a drink with this, I would suggest trying to keep your creation spirit-forward, as watering this down too far will mute this rye too much for peak enjoyment. This does surprisingly well neat, and may benefit well from a touch of oxidation given I've had this bottle on my shelf for quite some time now. I hope this review helps! Let me know down in the comments what you think of Elijah Craig Rye.



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