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Elijah Craig Small Batch
About Elijah Craig Small Batch
Heaven Hill is such a big player in American whiskey that I completely forgot they also produce Elijah Craig Small Batch. After reviewing Rittenhouse Rye and Evan Williams Bottled-in-Bond recently, I was intending to try some other American distilleries but I guess I’m just drawn to Heaven Hill this year. It also doesn’t help that the Small Batch bottle doesn’t mention Heaven Hill.
But it does have an embossed “1789” on bottle in honor of Elijah Craig’s contribution to bourbon history. Elijah Craig was a baptist preacher turned capitalist from Georgetown, Kentucky who is known as the creator of bourbon by being the first person in the US to age whiskey in charred oak barrels.
While there are doubts about the validity of this statement, charring is essential for the flavor of bourbon. The charred wood brings out the bold sweet notes like vanilla, toffee or caramel but without add any smokey notes. And it’s even a requirement to be legally classified as bourbon by the US government.
❖ Spirit: Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey
❖ Distillery: The Elijah Craig Distillery Co./ Heaven Hill Distillery
❖ ABV: 47% (94 Proof)
❖ Low Moderate Price
My Tasting Notes
❖ Color: Caramel Brown
❖ Nose: Brown Sugar, Vanilla
❖ Taste: Still get vanilla and sugar sweetness. Slight woody bitterness from the oak. Heat from the Alcohol
❖ Finish: long and warm. slight sweetness but mostly oak and mint.
Tasting from Elijah Craig for reference
❖ Color: Burnished copper
❖ Nose: Delightfully complex with notes of vanilla bean, sweet fruit, and fresh mint
❖ Taste: Smooth and warm; pleasantly woody with accents of spice, smoke, and nutmeg
❖ Finish: Long, sweet, and slightly toasty
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Elijah Craig Kentucky Buck
3/4 oz. Simple Syrup
3/4 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
2 oz. Ginger Beer
2 oz Bourbon
Since I’m not a cocktail expert, I still learn a lot from cocktail recipes featured on brand websites. Even though I don’t end up making a majority of them, I usually find one or two to add to the ever growing list of recipes to try. But this Kentucky buck recipe from the Elijah Craig website immediately caught my eye because I love whiskey cocktails with lime juice and I was eager to see how Elijah Craig Small Batch would work with all the other ingredients.
Every time I taste a cocktail with lime and whiskey I think it’s my new favorite. This Kentucky Buck is perfectly balanced and I didn’t have to make any adjustments to suit my personal taste. The strawberries had just the right amount of flavor and sweetness to counter the tartness from the lime. And the vanilla notes from the Elijah Craig Small Batch also balanced well with the lime and ginger beer.
Elijah Craig Small Batch is a solid option for anyone looking for classic bourbon taste at an affordable price. Although it’s not the most complex flavor, it has the hallmarks of bourbon (vanilla, fruit, oak, etc) and balances them well with some nice heat from the 94 proof.
The simplicity of flavor also makes it a good choice for cocktails. I was able to clearly taste the vanilla and sugar notes in the Kentucky Buck and it balanced well with all the other flavors. The slight increase in ABV also helps it stand out in cocktails.
And I don’t feel bad about mixing it because of the price. I’m able to find Elijah Craig Small Batch in my area for $20-25 which is a fair price for what it has to offer. Small Batch is also sold in a 375 ml bottle for around $13 so it’s easier to try out.
This is also an interesting week to review a Heaven Hill product because the union workers at the distillery went on strike. The story is still on-going at the time of writing but the strike was prompted by disputes about schedule changes including weekend hours and changes to health care plans in the new contract negotiations. Hopefully they reach a fair agreement soon since the workers are working so hard to meet the growing global demand for bourbon.
As always, drink responsibly.