I've had many experiences with Elijah Craig Toasted barrel since its inception in September of 2020. Historical tastings have usually produced a bit of a coin-flip effect; on any given night with this release, I either love it or it doesn't land at all. What's up with this fickle beast? Are toasted barrel releases more susceptible to oxidation? Are the master blenders for the Elijah Craig brand getting lax in their skills with this one? I may not know the answer to any of these questions, but I do have a decent palate - so I'm going to stick to evaluating the whiskey I've got before me today and I'll try to make an honest assessment of a whiskey that I have stashed in surprising quantities because of how much I liked it from the start in late 2020. This is a fairly recent release as of the time of writing, which I'm hoping will be a little more consistent so you can be a more informed whiskey enthusiast going forward having read this review.
Company on Label: Elijah Craig Distillery Co (Heaven Hill)
Whiskey Type: Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Mash Bill Percentages: 78% Corn, 10% Rye, 12% Barley
Further identification: This is a standard product offering from Heaven Hill that is beginning to achieve wider availability as of 2023 (at least in my Massachusetts market)
Nose: Even from a distance an intoxicating sweetness emanates from the glass. Diving in I find Mexican street corn that goes heavy on the crema, faint smoke and overbearing oak. As the glass slowly warms in my hand I begin to find hints of vanilla and black pepper. There are flashes of espresso that can sometimes be gleaned during a sip. As the glass nears empty I find a weird bubblegum note that pops up at times. The empty glass smells of prevalent oak.
Palate: At first sip dry cherry skins, white linen, strawberry runts candy, and sugar coated raisins jump out at me. Another sip builds in creamy layers of vanilla and ladyfingers. The linger is short and thin with graham cracker and a tannic dry profile similar to a syrah wine. My last sip is an interesting sweet tart medley that goes down quite easy without any fuss or evolution.
Why is that big marshmallow note that I fell in love with on my first bottle gone forever? I am always chasing it on this release, and more often than not it's missing when I go to explore a glass. They say expectations are the thief of joy. My mourning aside, the overall profile on this pour is a little simple to be considered extraordinary. I think it is a solid regular sipper for those that can find it with relative ease.