Elijiah Craig Barrell Proof Bourbon (ECBP) is a staple on my bar, but one that I have ignored for a while–and that was a mistake. The 128 proof, #7 release, was the first piece ever on my blog and it is long overdue to review another one. Today I am imbibing the 139.4 proof, which is release #11 and the second highest proof they have ever done. Earlier in the evening I was drinking EHTBP, and when I poured this one I couldn’t believe how much darker the color and deeper the aroma was…. On to the review…
Deep and dark tawny port color.
On the nose had rich flavors of butterscotch, buttered popcorn, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Raisin Bran and maple syrup–also getting some of those tawny notes that the color alludes to. Just a big and bold nose: some heat but less than expected given the high proof.
The first taste is fantastic. The chewy flavors are coming through and the wood tannins on the tongue are there but not as thick as I would like. If anyone has ever tried a Sam Adams Utopias before, there are some similar tastes and smells–which is very good. There is a nice warmth traveling through my body but it isn’t harsh at all. The finish isn’t as long as I expected given all the complexity upfront, but it’s quite an experience. Very solid palate.
You have to give it to Heaven Hill because ECBP is still one of the few well priced cask strength bourbons out there. Their newest release is the best one that I have tried to date. If you see it on the shelf for a reasonable price, grab a couple and you won’t be disappointed. The only thing that prevents this from going from a great to an epic bourbon is the lack of extended finish. Worth every penny though. 94/100.