Whiskey Review: Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Batch A122

, | March 24, 2022

Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by Elijah Craig. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link towards the bottom of this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.

If you’ve seen a lot of Elijah Craig Barrel Proof reviews on The Whiskey Wash, it’s because it’s been released three times a year since 2013, and we love to share the nuances of each bottle with you. On each bottle is an A, B, or C to indicate whether it was the first, second, or third release of the year. After the letter comes a number. This represents the month, and the last two numbers in the batch number are the year. That means this review, batch A122, is the first release of 2022, and came out in January.

When tasting a barrel proof bourbon, you are tasting it much as the master distiller would. It’s uncut with water and without chill filtration. The proof varies by batch, since a new selection of barrels is used every time. For Elijah Craig Barrel Proof, it generally varies from 120 to 140.

A barrel proof bourbon is usually bold and showcases the charred oak flavors more than a bourbon cut with water. It’s always suggested to try your whiskey at room temperature neat, just to sample the flavors. Then, add a drop or more of water if you’d like to mellow the bold experience. The more water you add, the more mellow the experience. Perhaps you’ve heard the saying “bourbon and branch.” This is a nod to the southern tradition of adding water to a whiskey. Water from the stream, or “branch,” that feeds the distillery in the first place is ideal. The closer to the source, the better.

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Heaven Hill is the maker of Elijah Craig Barrel Proof and many other brands you’ve probably heard of. The Elijah Craig brand currently has five different whiskies in its lineup. If Elijah Craig Barrel Proof is too bold, then perhaps you would like another. Or, conversely, if you do like it, then there are two other releases to try just this year. Perhaps you can pick up all three, if you can find them, and do a side-by-side comparison.

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof A122 review

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof A122 (image via Melissa Jones)

Tasting Notes: Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, batch A122

Vital Stats: 120.8 proof. Bottled at cask strength without chill filtration. 12 years old. Distilled and bottled in Bardstown, Kentucky. $109

Appearance: Burnished copper.

Nose: The nose was subtle and didn’t burn like some barrel proof bourbons can. I detected aromas of sweet grass, cinnamon, and stone fruits, mostly apricot.

Palate: The palate was very similar to the nose but stronger. There were spices, oak, orange zest, and stone fruits, as well as a touch of brown sugar and a caramel finish.

4.5

Summary

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof is a great bourbon to warm you up on a cold winter day. I feel this expression is what a bourbon should be. When I tasted this for the first time, I really could not believe the proof, because it was so smooth. This is very well balanced–so much so that it might be dangerous to drink without some water. One of the few barrel proof bourbons that I really like and find to be very drinkable.

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User Review
3.75 (8 votes)

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Melissa Jones

Melissa D. Jones is a traveler, blogger, photographer, storyteller, foodie, whiskey lover and creative entrepreneur. Living for adventure and new experiences she's photographed her way around all 50 states and 47 countries (still counting!) and wrote her travel knowledge into a book. When she's not traveling you can find her...