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View Full Version : Elijah Craig 12yo - wtf?



mythrenegade
07-17-2008, 20:28
When I first started drinking bourbon I asked around here for a recommendation of a "next" bourbon after Maker's Mark. Several suggested Elijah Craig 12 year old, and so I bought a bottle. In short, I loved it. I found it was a great second entry into quality bourbon. From there bourbon quickly became my second favorite libation behind great california red wines.

After a while I became aware that around here there were widely divergent opinions on this bourbon. It seems that many love it, and many more hate it with a passion. Those who hate it claim it's medicinal and have all sorts of unfavorable adjectives to describe the flavor.

I assumed that perhaps some bottles were bad and others were good, and viewed it a bit like playing the lottery each time I bought a bottle. Every bottle I've ever bought was good. I have an open bottle right now, sitting under the coffee roaster. It's about 2/3 gone. I've enjoyed every bit of that first 2/3 of the bottle. Last night I opened it up, and per my custom poured it over 3 cubes of ice.

Listerine with a hint of mint is the best way I can describe what I tasted. It was horrible. My friend came in and asked me what I wanted to drink (I guess I looked unhappy...), and I told him I needed something other than bourbon, because this was terrible. He tried it, and agreed with me. His quote "I assumed your palette was off or something tonight, but I agree with you. It's terrible."

WTF?

I don't get it. How does a bourbon go from fantastic a few weeks ago to beyond bad last night? I'm quite puzzled.

It could have been something in the ice. It could have been the water I rinsed the glass out with. It could have been something else. I really don't know, but I'm very puzzled.

Strange indeed. I don't know if the rest of the bottle is bad, or if it was just something last night, but I think i now know exactly what people have tasted in EC12 that is so objectionable. What I don't know is how it could suddenly show up in my bottle.

Joel

CorvallisCracker
07-17-2008, 21:01
Who else has had access to the bottle during this period?

fishnbowljoe
07-17-2008, 22:43
Bourbon is as bourbon does. I haven't had the EC 12, but I have had similar experiences with other bourbons. Just not in the same way you describe though. I've had bourbons taste bad, so I'll not touch them for a while. Then I think,"What the heck" and I decide to try them again. This time, pretty good stuff. Or Vise Versa. It tastes great first time out, then the next time, uhhhh, not so good. I think part of it is just the nature of the beast. If there's one thing I've learned about bourbon, it's that it's like a fickle woman. Warm and sweet one minute, harsh and bitter the next. I think I've said this before, but it's akin to the Forrest Gump saying "Bourbon is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna' get" IMHO Joe

cigarnv
07-18-2008, 03:17
At times I suspect it may be my palate more than the bourbon....

BourbonJoe
07-18-2008, 05:03
Elijah Craig 12, at one time was very variable. Recent bottles, I've heard, are very good. I can't believe it went bad in the bottle. Don't know, can't say.
Joe :usflag:

hjminard
07-18-2008, 08:04
I really like EC12 and haven't had a bad moment with it (as yet). I did, however, have a weird evening recently with EC18. I simply didn't enjoy it that night ... it seemed all I could taste was bitterness and charcoal. Gave it a shot again a few nights later, though, and enjoyed it thoroughly.

Perhaps it was something I ate, or my body chemistry that day ... dunno.

Your experience is particularly odd because you had someone else there to taste and confirm your perception.

Stu
07-18-2008, 08:19
EC 18 has long been one of my favorites. It gets worse reviews here than EC 12. I had my first bottle of EC 12 given to me at the gazebo in May. I opened it and loved it. It is different then EC 18, but delicious. I have a little bit left. Since I haven't visited this bottle in over a week, I took a small taste this morning. Did wonders for my coffee! I always drink it neat from a clean glass. (I want more but I have too much work to do). I suspect the water or ice caused your problem. We have a delicious well, but I've noticed that if ice cubes sit too long in our frost free refrigerator, they taste funny. When we had to replace our deep freeze, I had to pay extra to get a non frost free freezer. We label all of our meat and occasionally find a package of deer meat in the bottom that is four years old or so. They are as good as if we'd shot the deer last week. Since frost free causes freezer burn, I believe it can also taint ice.

CorvallisCracker
07-18-2008, 09:13
Who else has had access to the bottle during this period?

That was a serious question.

When I was a kid (early teens) I would sneak small pours out of my parents booze. Of course, you can only do this for so long and then you have to find some way to restore the fill. Water with food coloring, weak tea, Listerine (it only came in brown in those days).

All these affect the taste, which is why I eventually got busted.

So, are you sure that bottle had the same contents as when you last sampled it?

Jaysus
07-18-2008, 09:23
That was a serious question.



All these affect the taste, which is why I eventually got busted.

So, are you sure that bottle had the same contents as when you last sampled it?

https://secure.oldbay.us/images/lol.gif

MikeK
07-18-2008, 13:27
Well you clearly need to wait a week and then try that bottle again. You could have been in a weird place that day. I do think (and most here disagree) that an open bottle can degenerate failrly quickly, but that seemed fast at 1/3 left. I did have a WT-RR-101 that was almost empty and went from good to nasty in one day, but that was an unusually fast example. Try the bottle again, it may be great for you again.

EC-12 is a bold creature. My palate picks up huge lavender and other florals. I don't like it. Very distinctive though, one of the few bourbons I can pick out in a blind tasting under any circumstances.

Cheers,

jburlowski
07-18-2008, 17:36
I have an open bottle right now, sitting under the coffee roaster. It's about 2/3 gone. I've enjoyed every bit of that first 2/3 of the bottle. Last night I opened it up, and per my custom poured it over 3 cubes of ice.

Listerine with a hint of mint is the best way I can describe what I tasted. It was horrible. My friend came in and asked me what I wanted to drink (I guess I looked unhappy...), and I told him I needed something other than bourbon, because this was terrible.

Sitting under the coffee roaster??? WTF?

Present circumstances aside, EC 12 is notorious for being inconsistent in quality / taste.

OldJack
07-18-2008, 19:53
Had you roasted lately?

Stale coffee smoke residue is nasty stuff and it settles on everything. I roast outside or in the garage to avoid tainting my kitchen.

If I were a betting man, I'd lay money on the roaster doing in your bourbon.

mythrenegade
07-18-2008, 21:40
Who else has had access to the bottle during this period?

Great question!

The roaster is out in the garage, which is an unattached building and is not generally kept locked. I'm not absolutely sure that it hadn't been messed with, but it's pretty unlikely. My friend's son is only 8, and doesn't seem to show any interest. His daughter is 11, which is more the right age, but I haven't seen any signs of alcohol experimentation in her. Interesting thought though. His brother does watch the house, and he definitely would hit the EC (I know he's hit Maker's out of there before), but I don't think he would bother to refill the bottle :-)

Joel

mythrenegade
07-18-2008, 21:49
Had you roasted lately?

Stale coffee smoke residue is nasty stuff and it settles on everything. I roast outside or in the garage to avoid tainting my kitchen.

If I were a betting man, I'd lay money on the roaster doing in your bourbon.

Well, we (www.redshoeroasting.com) roasted 40 pounds of coffee that night, so I guess you could say we roasted recently... But that's just it, there is _always_ a bottle of bourbon in the cabinet under the roaster. This is the first time I have ever had it happen.

As for the earlier question, the setup is like this. The roaster is a commercial one. It's an Ambex that roasts up to 5 pounds at a time. We vent the coffee smoke out of the garage but some of the smoke and all of the chaff gets EVERYWHERE. The roaster sits on a cabinet like you might find in an american house in the 1960s. Cheap wood with a front that rolls shut. Think roll top desk but the doors roll sideways instead of up and down. The shelf inside is where we keep the bourbon, pipe & tobacco, lighter, and other roasting essentials :grin:

I'm thinking that the "old ice" theory is correct. They had been on vacation and we haven't roasted in a long time. They don't generally use ice so that ice might have sat there for a month. I'll try it with some fresh ice from home that I make with filtered water next time.

cowdery
07-20-2008, 16:58
When a whiskey doesn't taste as good to me as it usually does, the culprit usually is me; something else that's been in my mouth, an allergy attack, a cold, or something else that is changing how it tastes to me. It's almost never the whiskey.

Stones
07-22-2008, 04:16
[quote=mythrenegade;130981]
Listerine with a hint of mint is the best way I can describe what I tasted. It was horrible. My friend came in and asked me what I wanted to drink (I guess I looked unhappy...), and I told him I needed something other than bourbon, because this was terrible. He tried it, and agreed with me. His quote "I assumed your palette was off or something tonight, but I agree with you. It's terrible."


This also had been my favourite bourbon for a long time, i've maybe bought about 8-10 bottles of it - 3 have been bad or off - rancid i think i recall i described it as. It tasted very metallic and i wondered if it was because it had been stored in stainless steel vats or something. I took a bottle back to the store and they said it was to do with the cork???

I also bought a bottle of EC18 from the US which tasted the same to my great disappointment.

When you get a good bottle its really very good, maybe there was a bad batch...:rolleyes:]

HighTower
07-22-2008, 04:45
I get more than a few EC12s returned for the same reasons. They can have bad corks in them, I have one in my office at work that has clearly leaked due to a bad cork.

Scott

jburlowski
07-27-2008, 07:15
As I have posted here previously, I never have had a "bad" bottle of EC 12 --- in terms of being "off" or "rancid" or cork-tainted. But I have noticed significant difference in taste profile. Some are really great; others very ordinary (admittedly these are very subjective terms).

To me it comes down to the value / price equation ---sometimes EC12 is off the charts; other times there are many better choices on the shelf.