Elijah Craig 23

Thanks to our friends at the blog Scotch 'n Sniff I spent tonight sipping on Heaven Hill's 23-year-old expression of Elijah Craig single barrel. We have bottles of and have reviewed Elijah Craig 12Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch 7Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch 9, and Elijah Craig 18, and we love them all. A few weeks ago, I had a pour of Elijah Craig 21 at The Crunkleton bar in Chapel Hill, NC, which I enjoyed much more than this. Bottom line: the 23-year-old is a bridge too far and is not worth its $200 price tag. While the nose is pleasant, bitter oak dominates the tasting experience. Thank goodness for little sample bottles and generous bourbon buddies.

Elijah Craig 23

Heaven Hill
90 proof
$200 MSRP

Color: A really beautiful, dark cherrywood. 

Nose: A subtle mix of cherry pie, orange bitters, lacquer, burnt brown sugar, oak, more oak, and leather.

Tasting notes:  At 90 proof, EC23 is on the thin side. Oak is the dominant flavor, but it's also an extremely dry bourbon. While some cinnamon and vanilla sweetness emerge, it is mostly a bitter, woody, dry, over-aged whiskey. 

Overall: C+. While it's rare, well packaged, and really old (I was in kindergarden when HH barreled it), it's too old. EC18 and EC21 are both balanced and delicious. This is more like an experimental bourbon and worth a dram at a bar, but probably not the $$$$ it goes for when/if you find it.

Peer Reviews:

Breaking Bourbon

Thirsty South