My local regional grocery store recently completed their Fall allocated bourbon raffle. My wife was kind enough to wait in line for me while I was stuck in work meetings. A few days later, we were excited to hear that she had been allocated a bottle of Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch B522. While I've enjoyed the traditional Elijah Craig Small Batch and a store pick, this bottle was far more exclusive.
A Bourbon Worthy of the Name
Bourbon history contains many historic names along with homespun tails, but perhaps none filled with more lore than the Father of Bourbon and Baptist preacher- Elijah Craig. Born in Virginia in 1738, Craig led 600 of his traveling church into what is now Fayette and Scott counties in Kentucky in 1782. By 1789, he had established a distillery and began selling his corn-based whisky. Craig continued to prosper, eventually owning more than 4,000 acres of farmland in the area. He passed away in 1808, but is perhaps most remembered for the bourbon produced by Heaven Hill that honors his name. For many years, its small batch expression carried a 12-year age statement, but that was lost to bourbon’s popularity in 2016.
Elijah Craig bourbons share the signature, flagship Heaven Hill mash bill of 78% corn, 10% rye, and 12% malted barley. Batch B522 carries a 12-year age statement and is bottled at 121 proof without chill filtration. We were able to snag this bottle for $69.
Eye: Dark and fiery red copper with a host of thin legs on the inside of my Glencairn glass.
Nose: Caramel, dark fruit, brown sugar, and creme brulee layered with light oak, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
Palate: Rich and velvety, with a creamy mouthfeel heaped full with brown sugar, vanilla, baking spices, and oaky goodness..
Finish: Long and spicy with a perfect blend of sweet, spicy peppercorn, and savory notes.
Overall: This bourbon is very, very good. If you’re lucky enough to have your number drawn or stumble across one in the wild, don’t think twice about parting with a few Andrew Jacksons. Full of bold flavors, this leans towards the spicier side and does let you know it’s a barrel-proof expression. Sporting a 12-year age statement, packed with layers of flavor, I think bourbon’s founder would be proud!