A bourbon break – Elijah Craig 18yr single barrel

Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey – 45%ABV – 750ml bottle – $40-45 | £46 | €54

Man-o-Maneschewitz do I LOVE scotch whisky!  I do, I really do.  In case you couldn’t tell, I’m quite passionate about it.  But even things you have a passion for, you need to take a break from, right?  So, I decided to take a little break from Scotch whisky and go for some American whiskey.

Note: notice the addition of the “e” in American whiskey?  Ever wonder what that was all about?  Check out John Hansell’s, of Malt Advocate & WhiskyFest fame, explanation right here – it’s toward the center of the article which, overall, is a great read.

The good folks over at Master of Malt also have an explanation as to the differences between “Whisky” and “Whiskey” – this is a fine read.

Elijah Craig boasts their having the oldest single barrel bourbon in the whole world.  Well now!  That is saying something.  Come to find out, many bourbons don’t stay in a barrel for more than 10yrs and few at all are single barrel like this one.

Actually, here is exactly what the folks at Heaven Hill have to say about the Elijah Craig 18yr Single Barrel bourbon:

“Elijah Craig 18-Year-Old Single Barrel Bourbon is bottled solely from one barrel hand-selected by Master Distillers Parker and Craig Beam, not from the mingling of many barrels, which is the practice for standard and Small Batch Bourbons.

Elijah Craig 18-Year-Old Single Barrel Bourbon is the oldest Single Barrel Bourbon available in the world. Only a handful of the millions of barrels of Bourbon aging in Kentucky have been allowed to mature this long.

The brand carries the name of Rev. Elijah Craig, the man who discovered the method of making true Kentucky Bourbon when he stored his wares in barrels that had been charred in a fire.”

Alright, are you ready for the review?  I’m ready to taste.  Let’s do this.

On the noseOff the bat – #2 lead pencil & pencil shavings (get ready for a test later folks!), oak and buttered popcorn, fresh corn and caramel covered apples.

This is a no-holds-barred nose, in your face, great stuff!  Again, going back to bourbons, I am always a bit surprised (and not sure why I should be) as to how “in-your-face” everything is.  Nothing extremely subtle but yet, it all works.

On the mouthLike a bee, you sting me right on my tongue.  Creme brulee with extra burny parts, sweet and spicy (amazed as to how spicy it is being that it matured in a single cask for 18yrs!), chewy mouth feel,  caramel and vanilla ice cream – who needs desert, just drink this!

FinishLingering, like the perfect cuddle after “baby-makin'” sex.  This is a finely balanced whiskey and a well chosen barrel.  Thank you Mr. Beam!

In sumWhen I went to Whisky Live this past April, I had the good fortune to meet Craig Beam – Master Distiller at Heaven Hill who owns the Elijah Craig whiskey line.  I had such a good time talking with him and his brand ambassador Rob H.  It was VERY apparent that Mr. Beam is proud of his whiskeys and I can see why.  This is quite a nice bourbon and at the price — an 18yr single barrel/cask whiskey… can you go wrong?  No, me thinks.