March 5, 2006

Elijah Craig Single Barrel Bourbon Review

Elijah Craig Single Barrel Bourbon
18 Year Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
90 Proof (45% ABV)
Typical Price: About $40 for 750ml - Buy it at Internet Wines & Spirits

Elijah Craig Single BarrelWe had already developed our opinion of Elijah Craig when we tried his 12 year old Bourbon, so when we drank the 18 year old we expected it to be half again as good. The 18 year old is another single barrel whiskey like the Evan Williams 1996 we tried, but even our first whiff told us it had a very different character. So how did Elijah's older offspring measure up?

The Color: Wait For It...
Yes, like all the other Bourbons we've reviewed thus far, Elijah Craig is brown.

The Nose: Sweet And Nutty
We smelled caramel and nuts, sweet and appealing. Sweet and nutty...that makes it the Rose Nylund of Bourbons. Wait, is that the second Golden Girls joke we've made during Whiskey Week? It might be time to detox.

The Taste: A Hot 18 Year Old
There are quite a few flavors running through this one, vanilla and wood and honey and smoke among them. The honey is the most assertive, matched only by the smoke. In fact, this is an interesting one - it's very smoky, and where there's smoke there's fire. We liked the charred taste, and we also liked the throaty burn we could feel when the rye reared its head. It was viscous and oily, and you can expect the finish to hang around for a while even after you swallow it.

The Recipes: Don't You Dare
Seriously - don't mix this one. It's great straight, so don't bother with even water or ice. Seems like this would be a great Bourbon to go along with a cigar, but we didn't have any stogies around the office.

The Verdict: A Great Drink For Special Occasions
This one's complex and exciting, but it might be a bit much for people who don't drink a lot of Bourbon. It's definitely five-star stuff, but not one you'll want to use to bring someone into the fold. If you're an enthusiast and you haven't tried it yet, however, give it a shot and let us know what you think. We were quite pleased, and it's on our list for special occasions and gifts for bosses.

The Site: Learn more and see more reviews about Elijah Craig Single Barrel at the Bardstown Bourbon Society.

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Posted by Jake Jamieson at March 5, 2006 2:28 PM
Recent Comments

I recently went on vacation to Kentucky and went on a tour of the Heaven Hill Distillery. While I was there I decided to buy a bottle of E.C. single barrel 18yr bourbon. I think it's very good. Probably would go nice with an expensive fine cigar.

Posted by: Joe Chubb at June 23, 2010 9:44 PM

In a closet I ".Found an unopened 750 ml bottle of "EC Single Barrel 18 yr. old". I received it as gift in 1998 (?). My research led me here. My buddies and I will get some cigars and put it to the test this weekend. We'll let you know.....

Posted by: AJC at June 3, 2010 8:58 PM

EC 18 makes the best mint juelip in the world. you may want to part with a bit of your EC and give it a try.

Posted by: Dan at April 30, 2010 2:14 PM

I became the ultimate rum snob a few years ago, and indulged in the most pricy, rare and exotic rums in the world. I've tried a few good Cognacs as well, but not as extensively as my rum kick. As far as rums go, I started out enjoying those that were a little on the sweet and floral side. My tastes matured and I decided that the best rum in the world, regardless of price, was Mount Gay Extra Old, though I still like Ron Zacapa Centenario 23 year. Today, I thought I’d try something different, but of equal quality. After looking at various Kentucky Bourbons, I settled on this 18 year old Elijah Craig single barrel Bourbon, given the awards and highest ratings it has received and because it was a single barrel and 18 years old. Certainly there were more expensive Bourbons and those in more handsome bottles, but I’m glad I chose this one.

While unpretentious, Elijah Craig 18 year old Bourbon represents the apex of American craftsmanship, integrity and tradition. Only a Boubon made with the finest skill, ingredients, and patience could produce such a warmly mellifluous sip that exudes both complexity, and pure natural simplicity. If only today’s U.S. political leaders had the same singular goal of excellence and integrity!

Posted by: Gregg at January 24, 2010 8:36 PM

Hmmm…I tried to upgrade to Elijah Craig 18-Yr Single Barrel after being knocked out by several bottles of the 12-Yr variety, but I cannot tell a lie: The younger vintage was considerably smoother. This was mystifying to say the least, but when I went back to the 12-Yr, I was content once again. I don't claim to be a connoisseur, but the difference was obvious. I'm glad the prices aren't reversed, because it looks like the 12-Yr is gonna be my choice for years to come. No contest.

Posted by: K. Leander Williams at October 27, 2009 1:09 PM

Wow!!! was my first reaction.... I started with Mr. Jim Beam when I smoked...12 years ago... quit smoking moved to Wild Turkey 101 loved the taste little bite... drinking mostly on the the rocks or very little water.... I travel alot and not available all the time moved to Knob Creek .... nice and very good stand-by....BUT the cost VS taste I found 12yr Elijah Craig and instantly fell in flavor of this bourbon.... Got my local Liquor store to stock it....then the other day I was traveling and I was having supper at all places "Ruth Chris" steak house and they had EC 12yr bottle and ran out and restocked with 18yr Elijah Craig and WOW I WAS IMPRESSSED .... LOVED IT.... I just got my first bottle today just in time for Christmas from my local candy store and poooured a glass and I am in love all over with this BOURBON.... I recommend this bourbon 5 stars by me..... no bite going into the drink and no bite during or after..... very nice flavor thru-out.... paid about $40 / 750 ml....all I need is one FINE CIGAR..... worth every dollar!!!!!

Posted by: Tim Renner at December 23, 2008 10:08 PM

This is my favorite bourbon to go with a good cigar. There are times for Woodford and other brands but after dinner with a good cigar there is nothing like Elijah Craig 18 yr neat!!

Posted by: Greg at June 12, 2008 3:59 PM

Are you kidding me???? This stuff is good? I've been a bourbon drinker for years...neat or on the rocks...Knob Creek is my bourbon of choice. The Elijah Craig 18 year-old is awful. It is musty and weak. The first thought that came to mind was "what is this stuff??? It tastes like bourbon flavored Scotch". My drinking buddy...a fan of Woodford's Reserve said, "I never thought I'd find a bourbon I didn't like...Elijah Craig 18 year-old has dispelled that!!!" Maybe it was the batch in barrel #2148. But the best thing I think to do with the remaining bourbon is use it for a fire starter when I set the remains of my boat ablaze.

Posted by: Mike Haskell at May 3, 2008 6:50 PM

I've been "milking" a bottle of this 18 yr old for almost a year now. Bought it for myself for my birthday last year. It is quite something else. Something I only sample every once in awhile. At first, I didn't think it was better than the 12 yr old, which I just love. It is a quite complex bunch of flavors. Gotta try if you can. I rate it the best "Premium" whiskey I own. Especially for only $40 a bottle. Better than the 12 yr old Jameson I bought ($38).

Posted by: Richard at May 1, 2008 7:02 PM

Myself and a friend of mine used to always sit back every friday and smoke a cigar and sip on some elijah craig. The 12 year old distilled bourbon was ussually our choice of flavor. I have yet to try the single barrel and greatly look foward to it. Many people don't even know who elijah craig was and i didn't even realize it until i researched it this evening. No wonder its one of the best bourbons i've ever had.... It was the first! I enjoy the smoothness and the spice at the end doesn't let you forget that the alcohol is present. I suggest any bourbon drinker to try this brand of bourbon and maybe you can help me find a single barrel elijah craig. I'm living in Germany now and the 12 year is all I can find.

Posted by: Bobby at January 1, 2007 7:45 AM

I was suprised to find such an aged, single barrel bourbon for under $50, and especially for under$40, with such remarkable character. Is this an undiscovered secret?

Posted by: Greg Young at June 12, 2006 5:47 PM
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