One of the recent ‘age statement casualties’ is the Elijah Craig Small Batch bourbon. Earlier this year, Heaven Hill dropped the 12 year age statement in favor of the ‘small batch’ designation. Like the Jim Beam Black, the bourbon is simply described as “extra aged” which is marketing-speak for “we put it in a barrel.” According to Larry Kass, Director of Corporate Communications at Heaven Hill, the batching contains 8 to 12 year old barrels. That’s a far cry from the original designation, but we’ll take it under consideration for the review.
Production: 75% corn, 12% rye, and 13% barley; batch of 8 to 12 year old barrel; distilled, matured and bottled by Heaven Hill; bottled at 94 proof.
Color: Dark amber.
Nose: Caramel, vanilla and toasted grains.
Palate: Caramel, oak, orange zest and malt. Very little heat. A few drops of water opens the sweet and fruit notes. Handles considerable ice and dilution without losing flavor.
Finish: Heat builds but not unpleasantly. Caramel and oak, and then grain returns. Orange on the very end.
Verdict: Still a great value for money bourbon. No faults, little heat and all the great bourbon notes. This isn’t a highly complex bourbon, but it’s not meant to be. It might not be quite the value that the 12 year one was, but it’s still worthy of a place on the home bar.