Review #9 - Elijah Craig Toasted Barrel
From Heaven Hill, the newest permanent addition to the Elijah Craig lineup has now been released: Elijah Craig Toasted Barrel. Starting with fully matured Elijah Craig Small Batch, it is then dumped at barrel proof into a custom finishing barrel which is toasted and flash charred.
The “Toasted” moniker seems to be gaining more and more traction, with Brown-Forman as well as Michter's delving in and having a fair amount of success and acclaim. When news of this Elijah Craig release hit there was a general panic in my local community because people needed this bottle, and once it hit shelves it went in several cases for close to double MSRP. All bottles are now pretty much gone, however, I was lucky enough to snag one at entry price, and decided to give this a whirl.
I drank out of a glencairn which rested 10 minutes.
Scores are between 1 (drain), 2 (finish but wouldn’t order at a bar), 3 (solid pour), 4 (actively seek out) and 5 (whatever it takes).
Notes of cinnamon and vanilla first – the nuttiness that I find to be dominant in standard Elijah Craig is gone. There’s a bit of a char smell as well that pairs well with the vanilla. A more intelligent person might say this smells like smores. I get a number of individual components of that, but it’s missing that trigger for me. Still quite enjoyable. 4
It’s light bodied and not very oily. The proof is very approachable and doesn’t present at first sip. There is some oakiness and butter to it and the cinnamon from the nose sticks around as well, but the sweet vanilla isn’t as prominent here. It’s a bit earthier with tobacco notes and clove. 3
The finish loses me a bit. It’s short and spicy while drinking hotter than a 94 proof. There is some baking spice initially but the only lasting note in my mouth is a little bit of ethanol and acidity. Not what I was expecting from the beginning of this pour. 2
This is fine. At $30 per bottle and with this now becoming a staple in Heaven Hill’s lineup, I will likely keep it stocked in my bar at that price point. I even prefer this to every Small Batch or Elijah Craig store pick that I can remember trying. I think this is a great summer sipper that drinks light, and I can see myself reaching for it on a hot day or introducing some friends to what a toasted barrel finish can do to a whiskey. This is a perfectly good bourbon that I enjoyed drinking, but for the love of God people have got to stop losing their mind over something just because it starts as a limited release. I’m going to enjoy this bottle and wait until I can get another at retail.