Elijah Craig 18 Year Single Barrel

We've previously reviewed Elijah Craig 12 Year and Elijah Craig Barrel Proof, big, woody, outstanding, relatively affordable premium bourbons from Heaven Hill.  Lucky us, we also landed a bottle of Elijah Craig 18 Year Old Single Barrel Bourbon.  Craig and Parker Beam personally select the barrels to be cut and bottled as EC18.  After such a long time in the wood, almost two-thirds of the product evaporates to the angels when the juice is dumped.

Elijah Craig 18 Year Single Barrel

Heaven Hill Distillery
90 proof
$50 at Liquor Barn in Lexington, KY

Color: Deep amber. 

Nose: After 18 years in the wood and over a year in a glass bottle, the nose let me down a bit.  It is very light and slightly medicinal.  After swirling and aeration, notes of leather, oak, barrel char, brown sugar, and butter emerge.  I didn't have the patience to let this one breath for an hour.  After ten minutes, I was joyfully sipping it.

Tasting Notes: EC18 has a delicate body but a rich flavor profile.  It is velvety smooth, balancing sweet notes of cream, marshmallow, and vanilla, with sharp cinnamon spice, cocoa, oak, and smoke.  The finish is dry and lingers. 

Overall: A.  Elijah Craig bourbons are outstanding.  The different offerings provide completely different experiences, from the bold, oaky EC12 to the hot, buttery ECBP.  The EC18 is complex, mature, and richly flavored.  It's the kind of bourbon you might hide from everyone else, because it's a rare piece of liquid art.