Elijah Craig Small Batch Barrel Proof, A119

Elijah Craig Small Batch Barrel Proof, A119
WhiskyElijah Craig Small Batch Barrel Proof, A119
TypeBourbon
CaskAmerican Oak
Abv67.6%
Rating 90/100
Reviews of Elijah Craig Small Batch Barrel Proof, A119
says on November 29, 2019
Would you buy this again? Yes
Rating: 83/100
Color: Tawny

General description

pretty hot, brown sugar, oak, heavy vanilla

says on April 8, 2019
Would you buy this again? Yes
Rating: 92/100
Finish strength: Long
Color: Burnt umber

General description

Classic EC barrel proof, dry oak, brown sugar cherry. Hot even for me a bit water bring some smoothness. A bit sweeter and bit more oak than B518 my previous favorite

Nose

Alcohol, caramel

Palate

Dry oak, brown sugar, cherry

Finish

Red hot cinnamon candies, dry oak

says on April 6, 2019
Would you buy this again? Yes
Rating: 87/100
Color: Gin clear

General description

woah, even a solid dose of water barely slows down the burn, amazing flavor in the firey heat

says on April 2, 2019
Would you buy this again? Yes
Rating: 86/100
Finish strength: Long
Color: Old oak

General description

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof A119 (ECBP A119), the first ECBP release of 2019, proved to be a difficult bourbon for me to assess; nearly the entire bottle was consumed in the preparation of this review.  Those who have read my other reviews know I delight in whiskey neat, whatever the proof.  Not so 135 proof ECBP A119.  For my taste, I found this bourbon needs quite a lot of water for it to be appreciated.

ECBP A119 VITAL STATS
Country: USA
Region: Kentucky
Type: Bourbon
Bottler: Heaven Hill
Age: 12 years
ABV: 67.6% (135.2 Proof)
Mash Bill: 78% Corn, 10% Rye, 12% Malted Barley

FOR THE REVIEW:
I first sipped ECBP A119 neat and was underwhelmed.  Then as suggested by other reviewers, I progressively added distilled water (stopping at eight drops) to the three ounce dram.  Water improves this bourbon, bringing out its elusive and hidden flavours.

The rating below is for when tasted neat, comparing to my reviews of Dry Fly Distilling Straight Wheat Whiskey, Elijah Craig Small Batch, Willett Pot Still Reserve.   If there was a "With Water" rating, I would increase the score to 89 ... similar to mine of Booker's 2018-01 (Kathleen's Batch), Bulliet Barrel Proof Batch 4, Elijah Craig Barrel Proof B518, and Michter's Kentucky Straight Bourbon.

Nose

NEAT:  On the nose, ECBP A119 is quite dry with a little alcohol burn.  I detected faint light fruit floral notes, dark cherries and sensations of fresh citrus.  Its sweetness is of simple syrup and fresh orange blossoms on the wind.  ECBP A119 seems well blended.
WITH WATER:  The alcohol sensed while nosed neat is replaced with subtle hints of banana and fresh gourmet raisins.  Water brings out a light molasses sweetness and combines its spiciness with a hint of milk chocolate.  Water also adds a musky charred oak aroma.

Palate

NEAT:  ECBP A119 is bone-dry, harsh, hot, and strong.  Red berries detected on the nose are overtaken by black pepper and rye spice.  Even so, there are buttery sugar and orange blossom honey notes which combine with earthy leather and fresh light and dry oak barrel spiciness.
WITH WATER:  Water improves ECBP A119's taste, making it less dry, more warming and sweet, and a little more rye forward.  The subtle dark fruit detected on the nose transfers to the tongue, and an element of light molassas is added.  Water also accentuates ECBP A119's earthy and woody barrel char dramatically smoothing its 'neat' harshness.

Balance, Body, Look and Feel:
NEAT:  ECBP A119 is a balanced bourbon and its individual flavours are hard to detect.  It seems to lack the depth of previous ECBP itterations.  Its colour suggests time in the barrel and in the Glencairn, it offers the viewer an upside-down, crown of clinging droplets, which as the dram is consumed, fall into long full legs.
WITH WATER:  ECBP A119 becomes surprisingly smooth and much more complex, but don't misunderstand ... its flavours are still subtle and its strong spiciness is still there.

Finish

NEAT:  ECBP A119's finish is long and dry with an ever so faint hint of sweet.  It is big, with a harsh rye spice burn and a chew of dried fruit leather, leaving a lingering aftertaste.
WITH WATER: ECBP A119's harshness and aftertaste are replaced with an enjoyable sweetness and a tickle on the tongue and makes the lingering finish oaky and much more pleasing.

says on March 7, 2019
Would you buy this again? Yes
Rating: 94/100
Color: Amber

General description

excellent. explosion of caramel and butterscotch. slightly hot, long finish.

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