Elijah Craig Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey 12 Year
94 Proof, Heaven Hill Distilleries
For years the Elijah Craig 12-Year was my go-to bourbon, my every night sipper. I might occasionally step into a more expensive bottle as a treat, but I religiously returned to the EC12, its ratio of bourbon to price, around $18-$20 a bottle, I thought too good to pass up for long.
I still like and recommend the EC12, but as I began to more seriously survey the wider landscape of bourbons I reluctantly came around to the realization that this isn’t quite the bourbon I thought it was. Others in the same price category deliver similar if not more profound flavors, but I’ve also found quite a lot of both bottle inconsistency—occasionally the bourbon seems flat or muted, and once or twice I’ve even gotten a “corked” bottle, the only time I’ve experienced that with a whiskey.
When the EC12 shows well it’s very solid bourbon. I’d hesitate to call it a big bourbon, but it’s filling and fairly lush on the palate delivering up front notes of caramel, candy sugars and pepper that slide into creamsicle and cola through the medium finish. Sometimes I get, not unpleasantly, hints of canned peaches.
This remains a great everyday sipper, and though the price has slid up a few dollars, it’s widely available and I would never turn down a bottle or a glass.
Note: Elijah Craig no longer releases this as a 12-year bourbon. The new bottling carries no age statement but is blended with 8 to 12 year old whiskey.
Score (12-year bottling): 5