A year ago today on May 22nd, 2015, I walked into my back yard with my brand new bottle of Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Release #8 and my digital camera and took the pictures for the very first review here on Barrels and Mash. Now here we are, exactly one year later, and as I was making my normal run to Edmond Wine Shop yesterday it just worked out that they were about to open up a case of Batch #11 of Elijah Craig’s Barrel Proof expression. It seemed like the perfect thing to buy for the occasion, and the perfect thing to review on our first anniversary. So, I walked into my back yard with this bottle and my digital camera and decided to take pretty much the same picture as I did a year ago. Let’s hope this bottle is as good as that one was!
Company: Heaven Hill
Distillery: Heaven Hill Bernheim distillery
Mashbill: 75% corn/12% rye/13% barley
ABV: 69.2% (139.4 proof)
Age: 12 years
Released: Spring 2016
Rich and complex. There’s some cut grass in there, burnt sugar, and tons of maple syrup and oak. This stuff doesn’t sniff anywhere close to the proof that it really is. There is no burn, just rich, dark, delicious smells for your nose to enjoy.
You don’t need to cut this. It’s super nice and silky just the way it is. It explodes with vanilla right off the bat then is quickly balanced out almost perfectly by the dry wood from that 12 years in the barrel. The high proof provides some really great heat but leaves plenty of room for the more subtle notes of caramel and orange zest to shine.
The finish is long and dry. REAL long and dry. Full of oak and some peppery spice. Eventually the sweetness comes back a little at the end of the finish to leave you with a pretty damn good experience.
This is some very good stuff. After my initial evaluation I threw a couple of drops of water up inside the glass and was surprised at what happened. The addition of a little bit of water really brought out a ton of rye spice…almost too much, I prefer this stuff straight up.