Elijah Craig Aged 23 Years Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Barrel No 28
What the Distillery Says:
Continuing the tradition of the acclaimed line of extra-aged Bourbons, Heaven Hill is proud to offer a limited edition release of Elijah Craig 23-Year-Old Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. This bottling follows up on the success of the sold-out Elijah Craig 20-Year-Old Single Barrel, released in the Spring of 2012 and named “American Whiskey of the Year” by Whisky Advocate magazine, and the Elijah Craig 21-Year-Old, released in 2013 and designated “Excellent/Highly Recommended“ at the 2013 Ultimate Spirits Challenge.
At 23 years of age, quite advanced for a Bourbon, which of course by law must age in a new charred white oak barrel, barrel selection becomes of tantamount importance. Barrels that age for that long on the highest floors of the rickhouse, where temperature extremes are greatest, can become too woody or tannic. The barrels for Elijah Craig 23-Year-Old Single Barrel are drawn from the middle floors of the rickhouses, where the effects of long aging are mitigated by the more moderate temperature fluctuations. This careful barrel selection, drawn from Heaven Hill’s inventory of over one million aging barrels, means the whiskey offers depth and complexity while still perfectly maintaining the delicate balance between barrel and distillate. This premier Bourbon is a must have for any connoisseur’s collection.
What Gary Says:
Nose: Rich wood, worn leather, hints of burnt caramel, but quite “wood dominant”.
Palate: Plenty of wood, coffee cake, burnt sugar.
Finish: Long and drying, and a bit softer than I expected.
Comments: When bourbon spends 23 yrs in a barrel, you expect a lot of wood – and this delivers. I tend to prefer my bourbon younger than this, but appreciate that while it had a lot of wood – it wasn’t as oaky as I thought it might be. If you like older bourbon with plenty of oak, this might be right up your alley, although the price makes it one whose craftsmanship I’ll admire from afar.
Rating: Stands Out
What Richard Says:
Nose: When you open the bottle after a long closure it’s almost rum like. As it breathes it opens into old polished leather, tobacco, lots of wood and a toffee sweetness.
Palate: Age forward with a back sweetness. The heavy wood influence stands out for sure. Behind it is a nutty note and Fig Newton sweetness that balance out quite nicely.
Finish: Cocoa powdered dusted on wet toothpicks. It’s a rather long but unchanging finish.
Comments: Very nice yes but I’m thinking 23 years is a bit too long. If you ever thought the 18 Year was too woody then steer clear of this one because it has WAY more influence from the barrel. The more older bourbons I taste (or I should say am fortunate enough to taste) the more I’m thinking 20 plus years is just too damn long. 8 to 15 years seems to be my sweet spot with a few exceptions 2-3 years on either end. This is a damn fine bourbon for sure but not for everyone.
Rating: Stands Out