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View Full Version : Great bourbon = Elijah Craig 12 year old



Gillman
02-13-2005, 19:09
Just back from a short trip in the Empire State, picked up some fine whiskey around Buffalo.

First, Elijah Craig 12 year old - is there any better whiskey in America? I doubt there is. It is astonishing this whiskey sells from under $20 a bottle. This is great whiskey with great balance and flavor - it has it all. Something in the background reminds me of the Single Barrel Dickel, very rich and mineral like, fine fine stuff.

Also found a strip stamp Fleishmann's Preferred Blended Whisky, bottom of bottle stamped 88, so likely bottled then. 90 proof too, current label is 80 proof. The 90 proof shows an address in New Jersey for the brand, so likely it wasn't a Barton Property at the time. This is really good blended whiskey, less dry than today's version, showing more bourbon sweetness and less rye whiskey influence. Deep and rich for a blend, silky is texture too, similar in this respect to that circa '80 Seagram 7 Crown I tried some months ago.

Finally, Wild Turkey Rye - wow, never was it better. It seems older, softer than samples from a couple of year ago, a depth charge of a drink yet tangy and smooth if that is possible. Jimmy Russell knows real whiskey to the core and I think his best work is reflected in the market right now.

Gary

wrbriggs
02-13-2005, 19:33
I've got to agree with yon on the Elijah Craig, although I'm not enjoying my newest bottle as much as I did my previous two bottles. That's probably because it was my regular pour for so long that I've been branching out a bit lately.

Although I've never been able to try the Wild Turkey rye, I will agree with you that Jimmy Russell "knows real whiskey to the core". I finally got my hands on a bottle of Russell's Reserve, and it's incredible.

TNbourbon
02-13-2005, 19:51
Well, Gary, you (and the other fans here) almost have me convinced to give it another try. I just didn't like it the first time I bought it, and I tried several pours. But, it's cheap -- so maybe I'll try again.
But, this ain't baseball -- two strikes, and it's out!

tdyches
02-13-2005, 21:15
Yes, I will have to agree! I didnt like it when I first tried, but now it's a staple in my stash. I really enjoy the Knob Creek and the Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit.

camduncan
02-14-2005, 00:43
First, Elijah Craig 12 year old - is there any better whiskey in America? I doubt there is



No argument here. One of the best things that ever happened to the Aussie bourbon market was the arival of a select range of Heaven Hill products. Thankfully EC 12yo was one of them!

pete_d
02-14-2005, 03:13
First, Elijah Craig 12 year old - is there any better whiskey in America? I doubt there is



No argument here. One of the best things that ever happened to the Aussie bourbon market was the arival of a select range of Heaven Hill products. Thankfully EC 12yo was one of them!



I concur. However I did go off it a bit lately with the last bottle I purchased which seemed a lot less complex and bitter in tasting than my memory of previous bottlings. I gave the brand the benefit of the doubt and bought a replacement. I'm SO glad I did. This new bottle is phenomenal. Definitely among the best pours I've had. Best thing is I got in on special. 10% off.

Gillman
02-14-2005, 05:16
Recent bottlings must be hitting a peak because the bottle I bought is very good, rich and brandy-like with no bitterness or off-taste. One expects some variation in a small batch product but this current pour seems better than ever. The Heaven Hill team have got it right and the low price is an unexpected bonus, and further proof of the very good value which bourbon can offer. I feel the same applies to Wild Turkey rye. Past bottlings were always good but the current one shows more barrel character and depth. No age statement appears on the label but it tastes like 5-6 year old whiskey at least and may include older whiskey. In any case it hits the right balance. What I like about fine whiskey is a shot or two is enough, when it is this good it satisfies by its richness and fullness not by the quantity consumed.

Gary

hookfinger
02-14-2005, 07:48
At this point I have to agree with TNbourbon. I tried the EC12 several times and found it unimpressive. Even with the way it receives great marks here I have been hesitant to to retry. Maybe I'll give it another a shot but I'm not holding out hope. I think the WT rye is better now than it ever was. I thought it was just me.

clayton
02-14-2005, 08:44
I'm another for whom EC12 did not hold much appeal. Then again, I am also not a big fan of the standard Buffalo Trace bottling, so I might be a minority of one.

Hedmans Brorsa
02-14-2005, 09:14
It would be interesting to sample a current bottle from the US. I havenīt exactly been overwhelmed by my last two bottles, bought in Sweden and Germany, respectively.

The earlier bottles which I got from the US (around 2000) were much better, especially concerning the nose and the finish. Donīt get me wrong, the European ones are still good but much more, sort of, non-descript, if you get my drift.

mobourbon
02-15-2005, 13:12
I like the EC 12. I've had 3-4 bottles of it and have enjoyed each one. I bought another bottle yesterday but haven't opened that yet.And, yes, the WT Russell's Reserve is incredible. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/drink.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif

bulldawg
02-15-2005, 16:44
I agree. EC 12 is great. EC 18 is also good. I turned a buddy onto EC. He wasn't too wild about bourbon until he tried EC. Now when he comes over, he asks for EC 18 all the time.

Barrel_Proof
02-15-2005, 20:20
Rough, that, having to drink Heaven Hill's delicious 18 year old bourbon every time your buddy comes over! We should all have such obstacles to surmount! Carry on!

idpa2000
02-26-2005, 11:32
I must concur with your opinion on EC12. It is probably my most regular pour along with OGD BIB. Both priced right and both very tasty. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif

Hedmans Brorsa
02-27-2005, 03:03
It is indeed tasty and fabulously priced.

To some people, though, it appears to be almost like Godīs gift to whiskey drinkers. On the basis of the earliest bottles that Iīve sampled I would be prepared to be take up a sympathetic attitude to this stance.

My last two bottles, however, is lacking somewhat in distinctiveness. I especially miss the earthshattering finish which managed to be both tasty, complex, agressive and almost never-ending.

Differing (and developing) tastebuds is of course a fact of life but in this case I suspect thereīs lots of different bottlings out there. Could the fire att HH have something to do with this?

Gillman
02-27-2005, 05:14
Well, at 12 years of age, the barrels in the current bottlings would have been made at the original distillery. I think it is more a question of batches and mingling. The current bottles seem to have a greater finesse than the earlier.

Gary

TNbourbon
02-27-2005, 07:47
Could the fire att HH have something to do with this?



Seems unlikely. The Heaven Hill fire was in November 1996, or not yet 9 years ago. Since EC12 is, of course, a 12yo whiskey, any of that bourbon was distilled before the fire.
The one possible effect I can think of would be if bourbon that otherwise WOULD HAVE become EC12 instead of what DID become EC12 was lost in the blaze.
One would think, however, than the Beams could offset that with barrel selection, unless ALL the whiskey intended for EC12 was lost.
Bettye Jo?

boone
02-27-2005, 09:31
The one possible effect I can think of would be if bourbon that otherwise WOULD HAVE become EC12 instead of what DID become EC12 was lost in the blaze.




All Heaven Hill, bourbon (with the exception of wheated) starts out the same in the beginning. No particular barrels are earmarked "Elijah Craig"..."Evan Williams" etc...We use the same mash bill on all of them. The "AGE" and combining barrels (EC, small batch, fewer barrels) compared to "alot" of barrels (Evan Williams) and "one barrel" at a time with the "single barrel" is the only difference.

Back then, the (OLD) distillery produced 600-700 barrels a day. They were not loaded in the same warehouse day after day after day (completely empty, until completely full type of method). Some would go to Schenley, some to Deatsville some to Heaven Hill and so on. Alot of times it's filled according to space available. <font color="red"> </font> Deatsville, Schenley, Heaven Hill, are the "names" of our warehouses at different locations...Some are flat and some are tall houses

The distillery burned. 7 warehouses burned to the ground in what was recorded as the "hottest" fire ever. The only time off at the bottlinghouse, was the day of the fire. We went to work the very next day and (with the exception of the very strong smell of bourbon in the air and the news folks everywhere)...ya wouldn't have known that anything had happened.

Within days "other distilleries" loaned their stills to Heaven Hill so that Parker and Craig could make bourbon...Finally, we bought a Distillery in Louisville. Bernheim...

I remember when the 7 year anniversary of the fire approached. The gossip was, will there be a difference is our famous Evan Williams 7 year?...Nope...not at all, went right thru without a beat. Heaven Hill, has 40 warehouses filled with bourbon. It's the second largest holding of bourbon in the world. I don't think we have a shortage http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

I can imagine that when all the "anniversary's approach"...The same scenario will develop...On the nine and ten year (EWSB single barrel)...the twelve year (EC 12 year)...and the 18 year (EC 18 year,single barrel)...

Bettye Jo

TNbourbon
02-27-2005, 10:40
That's about what I thought, Bettye Jo. Thanks for the confirmation -- it sure is nice to have an on-the-spot expert at hand.
As many here know, I'm one of the odd dissenters on Elijah Craig 12yo. My only bottle not only didn't impress, I finally gave it away. I've recently spotted what I believe to be an older bottle (bottle-bottom marking of '97' with a faded, almost-white label) that I likely will try in hopes that the differences others noted do, indeed, exist, and that I find a bottle I like.
The EC18 is also on my "pretty soon" list to buy and try.

Gillman
02-27-2005, 11:47
Tim, I would advise the contrary, to try the very latest bottlings of EC 12 year old. In my view, the taste profile has smoothed out recently and hit a high point.

Gary

Hedmans Brorsa
02-27-2005, 12:06
Yes, but what happened to that sexy, enticing nose of yore. Or that campher-like undercurrent which played peek-a-boo with your tastebuds?




In my view, the taste profile has smoothed out recently



Maybe it has been smoothed out too much for my tastes? Just before Christmas I acquired a bottle of EW 12yo 101 proof. As Iīve mentioned before, Iīm a bit of a slowie in this business so I would like to live with it a bit longer before I pass full judgment but initial impressions shows a much more exciting palate than the (admittedly good tasting) EC 12.