Bourbon Reviews:




Bottling NameElijah Craig
Bottled ByHeaven Hill Distilleries, Inc. Bardstown,KY
TypeKentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Alcohol content90 Proof
Availability US: Available Japan: Unknown Duty Free: Not Available Europe: Unknown
Age18
Views (since 20080612) 48827
Bottling InfoDeep amber hue. Opening nosing passes detect a no-nonsense bouquet laced with an astringent oakiness that???s crisp, clean and direct; later sniffings pick up layered scents of corn husk, buttered popcorn, resin, lead pencil and a hint of caramel. Flavor shows fat tastes of old oak, cream, almond butter, bacon fat, vanilla extract and smoke. Aftertaste is warming and semisweet.

- Paul Pacult
Events for this bottling:



Review from KettleOne (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 2076, Created:20120517050543, Updated:20120517050638) View discussion on this review.
Purchased at:ABC Store in Durham
Purchased for:35
Info on this bottle:Barrelled 4-26-90 Barrell No. 3835
Nose:The bourbon has a nice nose. Smells like vanilla, cinnamon and burnt wood.
Taste:Syrupy and sweet at first but then comes the smoke. Not over the top like some other reviews have said, but very prevalent....not unpleasant at all. At first.
Finish:The finish is another story. It starts out with a nice creamy rye taste and then turns to a woody burnt taste. Again, it isn't unpleasant...I just don't like a lot of char taste in my bourbon. It isn't over the top like some people have described here, so I must be lucky, but the burnt, ash wood taste does linger. I mean A LOT here. It is NOT gross. So, I can imagine someone really liking this bourbon...a cigar smoker or cigarrette smoker who doesn't mind the burnt taste.
Overall:The 12 y/o is better by far. I've never swigged from a bottle (as I like to do) or drank a full glass of TN whiskey, but I have been told that Jack Daniels has a heavy char taste for a TN whiskey. So, maybe if you like Jack you'd like this one? For me, I'm giving the bottle away to a friend who may like it or appreciate it more than I do.

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Review from Victor28 (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 1869, Created:20100902113551)
Purchased at:District of Columbia
Purchased for:$ 34
Info on this bottle:Barreled on 7-14-90 Barrel No. 2726
Nose:Citrus, honey, grapes, wood
Taste:Cognac like, fruity, with strong oak flavors
Finish:Slow consistent finish, moderate alcohol burn, moderately sweet
Overall:This is a delicious complex bottle. This is one of my favorite bourbons. I suspect that there is very great variability of flavors and qualities among the Elijah Craig 18 yr olds bottlings, based on the many varying reviews which I have read. I detected no issues with excessive char, which many reviews of earlier bottlings reported. I also like this EC 18 yr old much better than the bottle of Elijah Craig 12 yr old which I own. My bottle of the 12 yr old has a decent initial flavor but a finish which unfortunately tastes like soap.

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Review from mrviognier (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 1810, Created:20100217221112) View discussion on this review.
Purchased at:
Nose:Notes of apple and toffee dominate, with hints of leather, sage, orange peel, and lime, with a hint of iodine. Very textured and integrated aromas. Shows it's age...in a good way.
Taste:An entry that's loaded with glycerin, round and fat, with a woodsy midpalate that is loaded with earth and fruit notes.
Finish:Round, plush middle leads to a touch of alcohol on the finish...which is persistent, pleasant and well-integrated. Very generous...and pleasing.
Overall:From barrel # 2764, which was barreled on 2/28/91. Wow! This is a very BIG step up from the Elijah Craig 12 year-old. If I were to use a wine anology, the comparison is like a common Valpolicella (12 year) to an Amarone (18). While I couldn't drink it everyday, I really like this. It's a Bourbon worthy of contemplation.

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Review from TBoner (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 1617, Created:20090630205640)
Purchased at:Dallas, TX
Purchased for:$40
Info on this bottle:Barreled on 12-17-81. Barrel No. 1155
Nose:Wild Turk(ey)ish leather and honey. Big oak smoke. Yet, still, a bit of corn oil pokes through the murky, rich, charred nose. Perhaps a touch of citrus, not bright but muted, like I have found in some well-aged OGD from National.
Taste:Big sweet oak. Not vanilla nor corn but oak. Leather and fat, syrupy toffee next. Crisp-burnt sugar. Oak again, drying out. Then a last flash of honey and char. Full and rich.
Finish:I concur with those who mention the complexity of the finish. At first the tongue dries out, oak and old leather leaving your mouth watering. Then a sweet sort of honey creeps up from behind. Then more charred oak and a long, lingering burnt caramel, bordering on too burnt. Never crosses the line, though. Great.
Overall:Well, I wish I hadn't waited so long to try this. Very distinctive and well put-together. The unity of a single barrel is fully present here. It almost seems like a WT bourbon at times, but the fat corn syrup/corn oil of HH keeps poking around. Really remarkable. I will drink some of this neat and use some to round out some vattings. But I'm very glad to have tried it, and I'm sure I'll enjoy the challenges its complexity will present for my palate in the future.

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Review from bourbonguyjapan (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 1265, Created:20080830030248)
Purchased at:Japan
Purchased for:$53
Info on this bottle:2-28-80 barrel #1760
Nose:Wood, orange and sweet.
Taste:18-Wood, tannin, sweet- followed by a dry finish.

12-Sweet, slight wood, rye, cosmetics?
Finish:18- Dry and quick. Very woody and tannin-like.

12-Sweet then dry and a little mellow.
Overall:The 18 is very reminiscent of other Japanese exported bourbons I have had. LIke St. Nick's or something.
I think that the wood taste would be displeasing to most, and while I can handle it I don't think it's worth the extra cost. I'm glad to have tried it, and the bottle is aesthetically appealing but I'm not going to purchase this one again.
The one Spun sent me tasted better as I can recall.

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Review from bourbonguyjapan (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 1201, Created:20080722031628)
Purchased at:sample from the Jester of Bourbon
Purchased for:gratis
Info on this bottle:standard
Nose:Orange? Cherry? Hard to discern.
Taste:Wood. Smokey. Dry.
Then nothing but an enigma.
This one wasn't giving much up in the taste area.
Finish:A little dry and abrupt. Odd.
Overall:This was a mystery in a bottle. Surprising for its age.
Not to say I expected more, just surprising. When it comes to the nose and taste, this one isn't gonna give you something so easy. Anything you learn in those two categories is earned.
I would try this again, and even spend the 54 it costs for a bottle.

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Review from spun_cookie (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 1082, Created:20080515235009, Updated:20080516111125)
Purchased at:trade
Info on this bottle:Barreled on 08-31-89, Barrell # 2203
Nose:Not all that nice. Some sweetness, but a dull leather nose more than anything else.
Taste:Lots of rye in the taste. Bitter taste to it... not pleasant at all.
Finish:The finish is sweet old leather... with a hint of salt to it
Overall:OK, looks like I found a bad bottle like so many have refered to. This is 180 deg out from the others that I have had... I am going to let this sit.... for a long time to see if it gets better, but i have no hope...

--------- update --------------

I let this sit out over night, taking sips every 30 min or so til midnight and then again here in the morning.. and it got oakeyer, but the nose improved some.

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Review from spun_cookie (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 1032, Created:20080228223312)
Purchased at:Gift from NY
Purchased for:Gift
Info on this bottle:Barreled on 12-17-81, Barrel No 1121
Nose:The nose is great Just sweet and light oak.
Taste:Started light and grew quickly to power

The taste is full, but not overwhelming in any dimension, but the finish is strong leather and smoked oak. Not bad, just powerful.

As it opens the lighter flavorful oak steps up to great you on the finish. It opens up on the nose with some vanilla corn. The taste begins to show similar signs
Finish:I cannot get over this finish. It has changed every 5 min.
So far:
Heavy Smoked oak and Leather
Smoked light oak and light leather
Vanilla and smoked oak with light leather and corn with pepper
Strong vanilla with some fruit and then smoked oak... leather is almost gone.
Corn, vanilla, smoked and oak... the smoke has strengthened again..
Last taste is sweat molasses and cream... just incredible
Overall:This is a great bourbon... A must drink neat.. is or water would diminish the great changes and complexity...

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Review from scubagirl (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 1005, Created:20080131111732)
Purchased at:Bardstown
Purchased for:$40
Info on this bottle:Barrel Number 1039
Proof Of this Bottle:90 Proof
Nose:Fruity, then little woodsy, a hint of vanilla
Taste:Smooth, rich flavor, heavy carmel taste. I think I like the 12 year old better.
Finish:Doesn't leave a good after taste. Like having smoke Samon that has too much smoke. Sweet and smoky.
Overall:Going to stick with 12 year old for awhile until this gets better, maybe down the road I will get a better bottle from a different barrel.

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Review from spun_cookie (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 960, Created:20071230194655)
Purchased at:
Purchased for:37.99
Info on this bottle:Bevmo
Nose:Honey at first with a light musky smell to it next that yields to vanilla. There is a light oak odor that slides quickly into fresh leather... There is some since of a rich molasses...
Taste:oak, leather and both very light... much less potent than I expected of remembered... very light alcohol
Finish:Quick to a light oak and used leather... a little sweet
by 30 seconds this has dropped off to a light ting of leather and molasses...
there is a slight medicine taste to it, but not much...

There is a though of a Scotch without the peat... which explains why my Scotch drinking buddies like this s much...

this may sound strange, but I dot a peppermint taste right at about 60 seconds... or plane mint...
Overall:Pre taste:
I am surprised that had not rated this earlier... I am down to a quarter bottle of this one and remember enjoying it every time... I am even more surprised at the very poor reviews... It has been some time since I have had this (4-5 months), so now that I have read the other reviews (1 good of 6 - with 5 very poor), I will give it a shot.

Post taste:
This is a lot lighter than I remember... lots of leather from fresh to well used saddle leather....

I am hoping my second unopened bottle (Christmas gift this year) is as good as this one... Mine seems to be remarkable different that the nice previously reviewed...

Just as a side note, this has long legs on it like a good wine... not sure if it means anything, but I do not remember legs like this on others that I have had....

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Review from warhawk (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 735, Created:20070331185904, Updated:20070331190301)
Purchased at:Hyvee Liqor
Purchased for:40
Nose:Deep and full.
Taste:I think they over charred my barrel. It tastes like a bag of Kingsford. Forgive me for being harsh and please understand that I am new to this. I guess that I am lucky to have bumped into several really good whiskeys before expanding my collection to this. It really tastes terrible. Just imagine cleaning out your grill with your mouth. They could have made two batches of Knob Creek in the time it took to create this abomination.
Finish:a TRAINWRECK. I pray that this isn't the first bourbon a new drinker tries. They would never try another brand. Unbelieveable from something aged 18 years. Bleech! Grab some Van Winkle or Hirsch to get this god aweful taste out of your mouth!
Overall:Taking a second drink from this bottle would be a sin. With so many other good bourbons out there why waste our time with this swill. This whiskey is masquerading as a top shelf bourbon when it is bottom of the barrel. Please stay away from this stuff and buy a bottle of Van Winkle 12 year for the same price.

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Review from bourbonv (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 381, Created:20060311081003)
Purchased at:Bourbon's Bistro Bar
Purchased for:10.00
Info on this bottle:Standard Single Barrel Bottle
Proof Of this Bottle:90
Nose:Strong oak with caramel toffee and ginger spice. Old leather and tobacco.
Taste:Tannic oak and caramel with a little pepper spice.
Finish:Dry tannic oak and spice with a very sour finish
Overall:Mix it as an old fashioned to take the off the tannic edge and rid it of the sour finish.

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Review from Mike (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 342, Created:20060203134451, Updated:20060203181147)
Purchased at:Sigman Bottle Shop, Conyers, GA
Purchased for:$38
Info on this bottle:Barreled on 8-2-81 in Barrel no 1450
Nose:A dry, oakey nose with a bit of leather and char. The nose is oily and has hints of the earth in it. Rye is there with a small amount of spicy aromas.
Taste:The taste is much like the nose, with the oak and dry astringency being quite prominent. The barrel char and tannins obliterate any corn sweetness or vanilla.
Finish:Unfortunately, the taste that linger the longest is a kind of charcoal bitterness that not even the alcolhol can overcome.
Overall:I hate to give any bourbon a bad review, fortunately there are few that deserve it. Unfortunately, this one does. I would offer this bourbon as an example of one that has not benefited from extra years in the barrel. I bought this bourbon in hopes of vatting it with George T Stagg to moderate the alcolhol there.............but Ole George deserves better than this. The 12 year old brother to this bourbon is far superior in my opinion.

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Review from woodmilk (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 267, Created:20050901194735)
Purchased at:Woodman's Grocery
Purchased for:34.00
Nose:sweet carmel nose with vanilla, whifts of citrus with a tar/campfire background, smells viscus and thick with complexity
Taste:First sip is hot and a little spicy. Second warms the tongue and is a little less obtrusive. It is a powerful hit of spice, vanilla and oak. There is a sweetness that comes about with a little honey suggested.
Finish:Despite all the negative comments above, I rather enjoyed the finish. Yes there is some smoke or what I would call campfire. But I am a lover of Islay scotch, so perhaps I am bit biased. I think that the finish definatley has bite, possibly due to rye or the tails addition. For me HH really makes Bourbon worthwhile. The finish is long and lingers on the tongue and cheeks. Vanilla, wood and tar.
Overall:I would purchase this again and have. For the price and complexity this is truly wonderful. I enjoy the 12, but it is a different whiskey in a lot of ways. Let this glass sit for an hour and see what magic comes about... give it time and come back to the bottle for a second awakening.

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Review from abcgroup (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 219, Created:20050721103123)
Purchased at:Sherlock's, Marietta, GA
Purchased for:$38
Nose:Oakey and robust, with a hint of citrus.
Taste:This inital taste was great, real full on the palate, somewhat spicey. A nice robust but not vapor ridden bourbon.
Finish:This is the worst finish I've had in years. It's a weird mix b/t sour and spoiled milk. I can't express enough how bad the finish is.
Overall:I can't recommend this bourbon b/c the finish sucks so bad. The standard Elijah is much better better than this.

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Review from Blue (BourbonEnthusiast Review ID 163) View discussion on this review.
Purchased at:Local PLCB
Purchased for:$35.00
Info on this bottle:Barreled on 12-17-81 into Barrel No. 1059
Proof Of this Bottle:90
Nose:The nose was a pleasant mix of tangerine and smokey oak.
Taste:The front palate is heavy, almost syrupy, with citrus and honey. There is a hard transition to spice and oak with smokey undertones. This is followed by another hard tranistion to the finish.
Finish:So far this had been an interesting and decent bourbon. Once I got into the finish, however, all that changed. The finish started out as rye spice but abruptly changed to sour tannic ash. It was plain awful. To add insult to injury the finish simply wouldn't quit.
Overall:Overall, I have to give this a thumbs down solely on its finish, which is atrocious. Maybe some folks enjoy licking the inside of their fireplace but i'm not one of them. The real question, what to do with the rest of the bottle.

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