Bourbon Reviews, Distillery News and Information
Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
MSRP: $49.99 (but generally difficult to find and sells for a premium)
Review (updated with long term tasting notes)
Please enjoy our Elijah Craig Toasted Barrel Bourbon Review!
“Our Small Batch Bourbon finished in Toasted New Oak Barrels”
Heaven Hill introduced Elijah Craig Toasted Barrel Bourbon back in 2020. Seems like just yesterday. It is made by finishing fully mature Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon in a second, new, custom toasted barrel. To maintain its designation as bourbon, a new barrel from Independent Stave Company (ISC) is used. The barrel is toasted to a moderate level and then flash charred. The process is similar to that used for Woodford Doubled Oaked and Michter’s Toasted Bourbon, although the end result is a bit different.
Tasting Notes – Elijah Craig Toasted Barrel Bourbon
Let’s taste it:
🛌 Rested for 20 minutes in a Glencairn
👉Nose: Sweet, rich, burnt caramel, toffee, oak, leather, black cherry soda. Alcohol is barely noticeable.
👉Taste: Oak, caramel, toffee, mild sweetness.
👉Finish: Oak dominates, but caramel and toffee are still there, but are subtle. Some black pepper comes forward. An oaky dryness replaces the initial rich sweet aromas and lingers for quite a while.
My initial nosing reminded me of a creme caramel. If only that same full taste and richness continued on into the flavor and finish! But alas, those flavors are fairly rapidly replaced by an oaky dryness, with just a vague remnant of that initial wonderful aroma.
Conclusion, first time around
I was eager to try this Elijah Craig Toasted Barrel Bourbon because I enjoy double oaked style whiskeys. I had also read and heard some great reviews on the major sites and podcasts. However, it seemed my results would vary. ??♂️ This was one that I had to try a number of times over the course of a week, because when I first opened it, the rich aroma wasn’t really there and the flavors hadn’t developed yet. Honestly, it disappointed me. It has improved with time, although I am not loving how dry and oaky the finish is. It starts off nicely balanced but unfortunately gets pretty wobbly near the end…. Maybe this will open up some more over time? Read on to find out…
Elijah Craig Toasted Barrel Revisited – May 2023
Fast forward to 2 1/2 years later, to May 2023. I am tasting this bourbon again. I do get a little bit of a different flavor profile, but the end result is the same – this just does not meet my expectations for a toasted barrel finished bourbon.
Tasting Notes Part Two – Elijah Craig Toasted Barrel Bourbon
Let’s taste it:
🛏 Rested for 15 minutes in a Glencairn
👉Nose: Sweet cherry candy, black cherries, sweet caramel & sweet candy chocolate like Tootsie Rolls and Tootsie Pops; dry oak, light char; moderate alcohol
👉Taste: Similar flavors continue from the nose, although the black cherry soda flavor now dominates the cherry component; there is more evident toffee, and sweet chocolate candy caramel; fairly rapidly developing dry oak and char
👉Finish: Dryness with dry oak, char and white pepper spice grow into the moderately long finish. Subtle, red & brown Tootsie Pops remain. Dry oak and char linger on for quite some time.
Tootsie Pops Followed By Dry Oak
The nose reminds me of a red Tootsie Pop alternating with a brown Tootsie Pop with lots of black cherry soda. The cherry flavor in the taste becomes dominated by the black cherry. There is some expected sweet caramel and toffee, but I still am reminded of Tootsie Pops. However, what comes next still seems out of place to me. The rapidly developing dry oak, char and white pepper are just not what I expected in a Toasted Barrel finished bourbon. Quite frankly, all the cherry I got earlier on seemed out of place as well.
Final Conclusion – Elijah Craig Toasted Barrel Bourbon – Two and a half years later
I did perceive some different flavors this time around, possibly due to my bottle being open for quite a while. Notably, the cherry flavors are now more dominant. However, my overall impression is the same; the flavor profile is not what I expect from a toasted barrel finished bourbon. Don’t get me wrong – Elijah Craig Toasted Barrel is not a bad bourbon. I had no problem finishing my glass. However, I much prefer the Woodford Double Oaked (or Double Double Oaked), the Old Forester 1910 or, if I can find it, the Michter’s Toasted Barrel Finish Bourbon. This is an unusual conclusion for me because in general, I love Heaven Hill bourbons, but they have missed the mark on this one.
Please share your thoughts on Elijah Craig Toasted Barrel Bourbon
Please share your thoughts on the Elijah Craig Toasted Barrel Bourbon. This bourbon seems to sell out the minute that it appears, implying that people love it. Or, maybe, it is just hype making them buy it since the general consensus from my own informal polling is mixed. Reviewers on the Internet are generally quite vocal about loving this bourbon, including reviews from many respected sites. So, this bourbon is a bit of a quandary for me and I would love to hear your thoughts about it. Please email me, or IM me through Instagram or Facebook and let me know what you think!?
We hope you have enjoyed our Elijah Craig Toasted Barrel Bourbon Review! Would you like to read about more Elijah Craig whiskeys? Check out our Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Review. Or maybe you would like to read about another Toasted Finish bourbon? Then read our Boone County Toasted Cask Finish Bourbon Review.
Or maybe you like to read more about the history of Elijah Craig and charred barrels? Then check out this article: “Elijah Craig – Father of Bourbon?“