Elijah Crag 12 YO Small Batch Barrel Proof

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Elijah Crag 12 YO Small Batch Barrel Proof

Unread postby Mike » Fri Feb 05, 2016 7:22 pm

Bottled at 138.8 proof at $52, when reduced to 90 proof (standard) this works out to about $35 for 750 ml.

I was expecting more rich barrel flavors, but even at the full proof the barrel richness is not there. There is an off taste in both samples that jolts the palate that was expecting something far better. In an effort to salvage it, I added a bit of Maker's Mark Cask Strength at about 110 proof. That makes for a slightly more drinkable whiskey, but, even so, not one that I care much for.

Unfortunately, I think this is a gimmick bourbon. Few, if any barrel proof (or not) bourbons offer so little for the money. Someone, maybe a lot of someones, is not minding the Elijah Craig store. Apparently they know it and are resorting (as they all do from time to time) to chicanery.

I have never used the words 'rot gut' in regard to any bourbon before, but in terms of a value proposition, this is 'rot gut' whiskey. It pains me to write this.

I usually have some notion of how to retrieve a bourbon that is lacking in one way or another. The Marker's Mark Cast Strength mending kit dd nothing for this one, and nothing comes to mind that would. I think that Heaven Hill knew the barrels used in this Small Batch were irretrievable and there were so many of them that they asked the marketeers and accounts what to do about it.

If there is anyone out there whose experience with this boy is very different from mine, please explain what strengths you found in it.
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light. - Dylan Thomas
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Re: Elijah Crag 12 YO Small Batch Barrel Proof

Unread postby Vital » Sat Feb 06, 2016 9:17 am

Since you are just about ready to toss this bottle - wanna try adding water (if you know how to get it done right) so it becomes a 45%-er just like regular EC12 to see if it's anything like original? Obviously water itself has to be the "right one" as some water will give you a different taste profile then other but you get the point.
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Re: Elijah Crag 12 YO Small Batch Barrel Proof

Unread postby Birdo » Sun Feb 07, 2016 10:05 am

That's a good observation. I have had similar experiences with barrel proof or near barrel proof bourbons. The standard Knob Creek is more to my liking than the 120 proof variant, same goes with WT101 and the Rare Breed.

The problem with high proof bourbons is they are just to strong and you can't even enjoy much of it because the alcohol will hit too hard. :drunken:

The only high proofer I keep on hand is Old Granddad 114. I tame it with ice and a splash.
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Re: Elijah Crag 12 YO Small Batch Barrel Proof

Unread postby Squire » Sun Feb 07, 2016 12:39 pm

Mike could you elaborate a bit more on those off tastes?
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Re: Elijah Crag 12 YO Small Batch Barrel Proof

Unread postby Mike » Mon Feb 08, 2016 8:19 pm

Squire wrote:Mike could you elaborate a bit more on those off tastes?


I cut this to about 90 proof to see if those off tastes would be lessened. They were not. It is an oily taste (pine tar) and like the taste of inhaling diesel fuel I do not think the bottle can be saved.
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light. - Dylan Thomas
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Re: Elijah Crag 12 YO Small Batch Barrel Proof

Unread postby 393foureyedfox » Tue Feb 09, 2016 3:43 pm

i will join mike in my dislike of ECBP. liking barrel proofers, I chased one down a few years ago (batch 3, 137 proof) and was totally disappointed. I seriously thought it was tainted and had others who liked ECBP try it and they like it....so I gave it away. I attributed it to the age, as most of the barrel proofers I do like and keep on hand are in the 6-9 year range, and most of those are 7-8 years old. I thought it tasted like a pureed rotten oak limb dissolved in alcohol. But, mike...you and I are in the minority on this bottling. Ive not cared one bit that Ive never seen another batch release, as Id pass it up even if priced the same as EC12, which I generally dont like either. With the dropping of the age statement of EC though, in a few years...when its likely a 9-10 year old product, I'll try it again. But not the barrel proofer....
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Re: Elijah Crag 12 YO Small Batch Barrel Proof

Unread postby fenderbender4 » Sun Mar 20, 2016 11:27 am

I'm still really new to bourbon, but I saw a video and it had some quick snippets with Elmer Lee and he mentioned that how he tasted the bourbons was to knock it down to 60 proof I think? That really changed my perspective. Add as much water as you need to get past the alcohol is the takeaway lesson I think, screw whatever "others" say/do. I really like the regular EC 12 year. Not the best thing I've tasted but there's a local liquor store that had/has a sale for $19.99 for a 750ml. So at that price, it's freakin' amazing.
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Re: Elijah Crag 12 YO Small Batch Barrel Proof

Unread postby Squire » Sun Mar 20, 2016 5:08 pm

40 proof or less is standard for the professional distillery tasters. That's strong enough to disclose all they need to know. Works for me as well.
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Re: Elijah Crag 12 YO Small Batch Barrel Proof

Unread postby Birdo » Tue Mar 22, 2016 11:21 am

I wonder if the retirement of Parker Beam as Master Distiller has taken a toll on what gets in what bottles at Heaven Hill. So far I'm happy with the stuff I get from them, but I'm not buying the high priced specialties.
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Re: Elijah Crag 12 YO Small Batch Barrel Proof

Unread postby fenderbender4 » Tue Mar 22, 2016 10:54 pm

Birdo wrote:I wonder if the retirement of Parker Beam as Master Distiller has taken a toll on what gets in what bottles at Heaven Hill. So far I'm happy with the stuff I get from them, but I'm not buying the high priced specialties.


I'm sure there are lots of qualified people but I've been curious about this issue too. Just because palates seem to be really variable and also are not easily communicated to others, so when a master distiller "picks" things, it's kind of an accumulation of all of his/her personal experiences and to expect things to be kept the same, when someone else is in charge seems like change would be inevitable. Whether better/worse remains to be seen.
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Re: Elijah Crag 12 YO Small Batch Barrel Proof

Unread postby fricky » Wed Mar 23, 2016 9:37 am

It is unlikely that a Master Distiller picks all of the barrels. I believe there is a tasting panel involved in tasting to insure taste profile consistency.
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Re: Elijah Crag 12 YO Small Batch Barrel Proof

Unread postby fricky » Wed Mar 23, 2016 9:39 am

When I tasted the first release of the 12 year barrel proof, I thought that it was the best Heaven Hill product that I ever tasted.
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Re: Elijah Crag 12 YO Small Batch Barrel Proof

Unread postby Squire » Wed Mar 23, 2016 4:09 pm

HH has professionals of many years standing making the regular brand choices and Craig Beam has held the lead in choosing single barrel/limited selections for quite some time now.
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Re: Elijah Crag 12 YO Small Batch Barrel Proof

Unread postby 393foureyedfox » Wed Mar 23, 2016 10:12 pm

fricky wrote:When I tasted the first release of the 12 year barrel proof, I thought that it was the best Heaven Hill product that I ever tasted.



my take was exactly the opposite....and Im a big HH fan. woody really isnt my thing.... let alone at barrel proof, apparently
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Re: Elijah Crag 12 YO Small Batch Barrel Proof

Unread postby Bourbon Joe » Fri Mar 25, 2016 9:42 am

I, too, believe the first release of ECBP to be excellent.
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