American Whiskey - Bourbon

Elijah Craig (formerly 12yr) 94 Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

From: Kentucky, United States Liquor Review Category: Bourbon American Whiskey

Bottle/Rating Data

Rating Description

Tier 2
This is a Tier 2 score in the Whiskey category. It means critics have highly recommended the spirit as a benchmark in the category.
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Awards

San Francisco World Spirits Competition

  • 2005
  • 2006
  • 2007
  • 2008
  • 2009
  • 2016

Beverage Testing Institute

  • This bottle has not been rated by this competition.

Wine Enthusiast

  • 2010

Proof66 Notes

Today, Elijah Craig bourbons are produced as part of the Bardstown Bourbon Society. They are named for the reputed "father of bourbon" Reverend Elijah Craig, who is (sometimes) credited with first using charred oak barrels to give bourbon whiskey its distinctive flavor and color. Elijah Craig Small Batch bourbon was originally the younger of the Elijah Craig labels produced by Heaven Hill Distilleries as the Elijah Craig 12yr Bourbon.

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Rabble Reviews

This bottle has 32 ratings and 32 reviews.
Cranecreek Cranecreek (149)
Rating: 3.5 (2016-11-13)[Updated Review]
Seems that you cannot do 2 reviews for the same product and is how there is no separation between the 12 year and the NAS I will enter my thoughts on the NAS here. The new offering IS NOT AS HIGH OF QUALITY as the 12 year. What it is missing most is the sweet Oak of the 12 year. I did a review of "Royal Crown Black" which I compared as a good imitation of EC12. Now with this new NAS product, I doubt if you could tell them apart. Unless there is a price reduction down to about $22- then I would not buy again.....(following are previous notes on EC).....This is a new review for Elijah Craig 12 year. My older review was irrelevant given that this popular bourbon went to a NAS offering. I was watching for this new offering when I came across 3 bottles of 12 year (mine now) Bar code 0 9674900006 7. This is apparently the last dump for the 12 year statement. Perhaps this was Heaven Hills gift to us because it is EXCEPTIONAL ! I found a nose and flavors of black tea and sweet raisin along with honeyed Caramel, Smores'- leather and Allspice. Sweet Oak with a good rye presence were also in the mix. As dark a color as I have encountered in a bourbon. In all honesty this Elijah Craig rivals the likes of Blanton's and Bookers. Maybe this last dump contained some even more aged bourbons. No bitterness or woodiness at all, and smooth as silk. if you can still find it on the shelf, by all means get it !!
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • - KaiserSoze up voted your review on 2016-10-26.

  • - Tango up voted your review on 2016-10-15.

  • - piggdogg up voted your review on 2016-07-31.

  • - BDanner up voted your review on 2016-01-09.

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Pelio Pelio (2)
Rating: 4.5 (2016-11-03)
Bought the NAS on sale for $19.99. This is a solid sipping bourbon and a great value, especially since Buffalo Trace jacked their prices up to the moon. Ridiculously long finish, lots of the typical caramel and vanilla you'd expect, with nice undertones of mint, custard, a bit of pepper and tar. There's a trace of harshness but it's still a nice sipper. (Changed back from Autocorrect to "supper" - Freudian slip). I'd hesitate at $30 a bottle, but at $20, you will be satisfied. I rate this bourbon a 87.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • - BDanner up voted your review on 2016-11-04.

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Tango Tango (121)
Rating: 5.0 (2016-10-15)
Elijah Craig 12 year old is five star bourbon.The nose is deep oak,pipe tobacco, and caramel with hint of vanilla. The entry is warm with palate of oak , spice,caramel with finish of deep oak gingerbread, and vanilla., There is no bitterness . An outstanding whisky
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • - KaiserSoze up voted your review on 2016-10-26.

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KaiserSoze KaiserSoze (232)
Rating: 4.2 (2016-10-12)
A very drinkable bourbon with pleasant flavors. A robust whiskey, thick mouthfeel, and overall good value (although the price has steadily increased in my area over the last several months). Sweet with caramel and vanilla on the nose and strong maple syrup, oak, and barrel char on the palate. Nice, long finish. I didn't care for the first bottle I bought but have had much better luck with every bottle since. Somewhere between a 4.0-4.5. Will keep buying.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • - Tango up voted your review on 2016-10-15.

  • - piggdogg up voted your review on 2016-07-31.

  • - BDanner up voted your review on 2015-10-22.

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DerekS DerekS (1)
Rating: 3.0 (2016-10-11)
Got a 12 year old. Stated on front label... says it's distilled and bottled by Elijah Craig distillery in Kentucky
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TheFirstTen TheFirstTen (9)
Rating: 4.0 (2016-09-20)
Since the Elijah Craig 12 year age statement recently disappeared from the bottles, I think I was lucky to find an Elijah Craig with the age statement noted on the back. It's now half empty and that's too bad. The Elijah Craig 12 is very good bourbon, and for the price it's must buy/try. My palate prefers bold, wood and spice and this bottle delivers.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • - Cranecreek up voted your review on 2016-09-20.

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Review Comments
Cranecreek (2016-09-20):
Glad you were able to find some-it's disapearing fast. Seen you did not care for the EW 2007 (my review was a 1 star) the 2008 is not all that bad. Welcome aboard-good reviews.

TheFirstTen (2016-09-20):
Thanks. The shop still has a few back-of-the-bottle age stated left, I am wondering if I should pick a couple up. Or I could take that $50 and put it towards a bottle of Bookers. Tough call.

Cranecreek (2016-09-20):
If there are any 2005's by all means scoop those up !

Cranecreek (2016-09-20):
Sorry about that I was thinking Evan Williams single barrel -but as to the EC- there will not be any 12 year moving on-you may find the 1.75 litre which if you look on the back label will mention "at 12 years" etc. I bought as much as I deemed sane to do !

Rolugomi Rolugomi (34)
Rating: 5.0 (2016-06-12)
Vanilla oak and caramel on the nose. palate has more of the same plus something rougher underneath, yet sweet and delicate. This is definitely a quality bourbon and at a great price
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • - piggdogg up voted your review on 2016-07-31.

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lorax735 lorax735 (55)
Rating: 4.0 (2016-03-23)
This a very solid bourbon with robust complexity. Great enjoyed neat. The only thing that takes away from this bourbon is a slight bit of harshness compared to other aged bourbons. I enjoyed most everything about it. Look forward to trying it again and again.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • - piggdogg up voted your review on 2016-07-31.

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BDanner BDanner (257)
Rating: 5.0 (2016-01-25)
****UPDATE 01-25-16: Well, It's official. Heaven Hills announced last week that they are officially making this with NAS juice going forward. The rationale is so that they can keep enough stock back for Elijah Craig 18 and Elijah Craig Barrel Proof. This doesn't help me a bit as both of these are out of my budget. Hope they can keep the flavor profile the same**** ****UPDATE: 9-01-15...Just visited my local store. All stock, save for the one bottle I bought, has dropped the 12 year age statement and is simply called Elijah Craig Small Batch**** My local store just started carrying this one. I am becoming a fan of most of Heaven Hill's offerings, so I thought I'd give this one a shot. Nice maple syrup color in the glass. Nose is sweet pecan pie and burnt sugar. True to the nose it enters super sweet. Not complex. Full on caramel sweetness. Nice thick mouth feel. Earthy finish with a mild spicy tingle and a lingering hint of char. A couple cubes of ice dial down the spice but doesn't change much else. If you like your Bourbon on the rocks, this one is a good choice. I know I keep saying it, but top shelf to bottom, Heaven Hill makes consistently good bourbon. The only real disappointment from them (so far) has been the Evan Williams Black Label. (Edit: You can add the EW Green label to Heaven Hills disappointments).
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • - KaiserSoze up voted your review on 2016-10-26.

  • - piggdogg up voted your review on 2016-07-31.

  • - Proof66 Staff up voted your review on 2016-01-26.

  • - Tango up voted your review on 2015-08-18.

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Review Comments
Proof66 Staff (2015-09-03):
Hello! Proof66 Staff here... we're told that the 12yr has dropped from the label but is still listed on the back. This is similar to what Buffalo Trace did with their Eagle Rare (formerly 10 year but now age statement is listed on the back description). Is that the case with Elijah Craig? In either case, the whiskey nerds here at Proof66 are philosophically opposed to the demise of the formal age statement. Glad you got your hands on one of the last bottles!

BDanner (2015-09-03):
I tried to read the back label on the new packaging, but they had placed their store identification label right in the middle of it. The Elijah Craig website shows the new name and packaging and makes no age statement in their description. Hope they continue using the same juice.

BDanner (2015-09-10):
Looked again today and the 12 year statement is on the back label. They've also gone from using a real cork to one of the pressed wood imitation corks under that big honkin' Plastic top "wood grain" top (reminds me some type of fake wood knob off a 70's Cadillac El Dorado)

Proof66 Staff (2015-09-10):
Well, you know: retro is in. Maybe President Carter-era Cadillac is what they were going for. Here's hoping that they continue to give the spirit the full 12yr aging. We really don't like seeing it drop off the label.

Proof66 Staff (2016-01-26):
We just saw the press release. Heaven Hills has dropped the age statement. It's now just "Small Batch Bourbon" and we've adjusted our database accordingly. This is becoming distressingly frequent. The press release suggested this is still aged 8-12 years. They also said the barrel proof will remain a 12yr. Guess that's something.

Cranecreek (2016-08-13):
Check out my newest review for this BD

US Spirit US Spirit (74)
Rating: 5.0 (2015-12-05)
There are 2 things I don't get about Elijah Craig. First, I don't know where all these people find the stuff for such crazy good prices (proof66 lists the price @$23 where I live this is usually $30 and up). Second I don't know why there isn't more love for this stuff. Even at $30, how many other 12 year old bourbons can you get? Ok, some people here are not so hot on this because they'd rather have the 18 year old, but then that refers me back to the first question about price because bourbonblog.com happily announced the 18 year old is going to be available again though at a higher price than before and started the article by mentioning how good it felt to pay $50-$70 for the 18 year old the last time it was available. Ok, sorry back to the 12 year old I'm actually reviewing here. Most of the good stuff people say about Evan Williams 1783, Evan Williams Single Barrel, that's how I feel about Elijah Craig 12 year old. Its not as bold and maybe not as complex as some of the higher rye types of bourbon I love (like Four Roses Single Barrel or OF Signature) but it is smooth as silk (at 94 proof its as easy to drink as water), sweet, and delicious, with a nice long finish. What worried me about this bourbon was the tendency of Heaven Hill offerings to get more bitter as they age. Well, maybe they use a lighter char on the barrel (allegedly some HH products use #3 and some use #4) or maybe they forego the charcoal filtering because with this bourbon the excessively bitter finish I noted on other older Heaven Hill products is not a problem. There is only a slightly bitter note on the finish and it does not really detract from the overall taste imo. The taste is rich and deep (like the color of the bourbon) with honey, caramel, vanilla, and a maple syrup so dark its almost molasses, I also get a strong, deep woody note with a very gentle char, and maybe a hint of pecan in the finish. This is not a fruity or grassy whiskey, and although this is made with a typical 12% rye mash bill I get very little rye character, almost as little as Buffalo Trace. Overall, at the $30-$32 I see this selling for in central NJ I would buy this again any time. Its a wonderful sipper neat, and that definitely has no need at all for ice. I'd say this is a great drink for anyone who likes bourbon at all or who is even curious about bourbon. In particular I think it should appeal to fans of wheated bourbons or low rye bourbons like Buffalo Trace. For the same reason this might also make a good alternative to Gentleman Jack (which is typically priced about the same around me, but which Elijah Craig destroys in terms of flavor and even smoothness in spite of the significantly higher proof). Although this doesn't fit my typical flavor profile, my first bottle has definitely made me a fan. 5 out of 5 stars.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • - piggdogg up voted your review on 2016-07-31.

  • - BDanner up voted your review on 2015-12-07.

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Review Comments
Proof66 Staff (2015-12-07):
Hi... staff editor here! Thought I'd clarify briefly on the price thing. We actually try pretty hard to not mislead people about price. In this case, the $21 for the 12yr was reported in the 2009 rating and that's what we showed. Obviously, prices vary regionally and Elijah Craig has gotten a LOT more popular in the last few years. I just updated the price to what current retailer is showing and they'll sell for $24. A pretty good deal for this bourbon, I think!

jeanphilt jeanphilt (30)
Rating: 3.0 (2015-07-31)
I would give 3.5, I finished a bottle of it, it's quite similar to other bourbons, it's not bad but it does not stand out, a little harsh from what I remember, really similar to Knob Creek. Nice bottle design.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • - piggdogg up voted your review on 2016-07-31.

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Yankel W. Yankel W. (70)
Rating: 4.0 (2015-05-15)
This is a fine sippin whiskey, but I noticed that it is easily diluted and quite flat if any of the ice has time to melt. It is better at room temp, but I like other stuff better - EW Bond , GD 12. I think this is a good bourbon for the price, especially given the aging.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • - piggdogg up voted your review on 2016-07-31.

  • - BDanner up voted your review on 2015-05-16.

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jaketaz jaketaz (210)
Rating: 3.0 (2015-03-23)
A great choice for introducing a newbie to bourbon, fairly smooth and sweet, not a complex bourbon. One of the most distinctively sweet aromas in all of bourbon, a mellow butter pecan fragrance that I would be confident to pick out of a lineup 10 out of 10 times. Smooth enough for straight drinking, water and air only seem to dilute the flavor without adding new dimensions. The bourbon equivalent of a sweet Irish whisky, lots of butter pecan taste with little if any smokiness, almost no harshness or afterburn, also some apple notes and a hint of milk chocolate. Not amazing but fine for everyday use, though your budget might prefer the Evan 1783, a ten year bourbon that rarely sells for more than $15. I should add that I once drank half a bottle in one evening around Christmas, getting fairly drunk but without the slightest hangover the next day - that probably speaks to the purity of the product.
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Review Comments
BDanner (2015-11-21):
1783 removed the age statement a few years ago when they changed their label design.

mynoseknows mynoseknows (36)
Rating: 4.0 (2015-03-22)
Smooth and tasty. I prefer Larceny over EC but the value of EC 12 is well worth a bottle.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • - BDanner up voted your review on 2015-05-14.

  • - jaketaz down voted your review on 2015-03-26.

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spezbaby spezbaby (36)
Rating: 2.0 (2015-03-21)
I found it to be overly harsh and not as smooth/pleasant as other 10+ yr whiskies. Wouldn't bother with again.
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Joebazz Joebazz (27)
Rating: 4.0 (2015-03-01)
This is a very good bourbon for the price. Definitely let this air out a little It makes it open up nicely. The more you drink it the better it tastes.
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Muncher Muncher (584)
Rating: 3.0 (2015-01-16)
This reminds me of both Rowan's Creek and the Weller Antique 107.....maybe a halfway point between the two. Sweet, thick, and syrupy like the Weller, but with a corn/rye balance like the Rowan's. It's quite good and all the components (proof, age, color, price point, quality...) seem to be where they should be, but it doesn't excite me to the point of stocking up on it like a doomsday prepper.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • - jaketaz up voted your review on 2015-03-26.

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jmf02f jmf02f (15)
Rating: 5.0 (2014-12-08)
Bought this for $26 in Fl. The nose is wonderful. Full on butterscotch, vanilla, and cream soda. Taste: it starts off slightlt sweet. Just the right amount in my opinion. The nose actually translates to the tase well. More tastes are caramel and butter. The viscocity of this bourbon os really special. I liken its thick body and feel to that of knob creek SB without the Tyson sized punch of the alcohol that KC has. The mid palate is wonderfully earthy and leathery. And it finishes loonnnnggggg. With more sweet cream soda flavor and effervescent texture on the back of the tongue. You keep getting flavors of this long after you have swallowed the bourbon. There is a mild spice but not all that much. It has a very well rounded flavor arc. All in all this bourbon is wonderful. I like it much more than Buffalo trace and i actually like Buffalo Trace quite a bit. But the extra $5 for EC12 os worth it in my book.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • - BDanner up voted your review on 2015-05-14.

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md_schneider md_schneider (11)
Rating: 5.0 (2014-11-26)
Strong flavors with a nice spice. Drinking neat, old fashion, with bitters or cherries this is probably in my top 5 whiskies.
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beerdless beerdless (10)
Rating: 4.0 (2014-10-11)
My first bourbon bottle. Took a few evenings to get used to the heat, coming from a craft beer background with literally zero liquor knowledge. Drank neat. About a half to 1 finger in a small snifter. Later switched to a rocks glass (with no rocks).
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derkerderr derkerderr (73)
Rating: 4.0 (2014-01-27)
I bought this bottle for $25, and at that price, it is a steal. It has since increased to $30 and I'm not happy about it. I find it to have a pleasant, semi-sweet taste followed by a smooth finish that doesn't offend the more delicate bourbon consumers.
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StevenSauce StevenSauce (69)
Rating: 3.0 (2013-08-20)
3.4 stars wondering if this is really aged for 12 years, quite a harsh character, intense, with a big punch upfront and nicer, more subtle notes behind. certainly for the big bourbon fans, too much for me.
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Phatz1960 Phatz1960 (4)
Rating: 3.0 (2013-08-02)
Good but not great. For a few dollars more, treat yourself to the 18 year old bourbon.
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joelbarrett joelbarrett (56)
Rating: 5.0 (2013-03-21)
For an inexpensive bourbon, you cant go wrong here. 5 stars because f the blend of good taste and inexpensive price.
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mclarkwvu mclarkwvu (7)
Rating: 3.0 (2012-10-27)
Had it a little while ago, but I remember Eli having a distinct vanilla taste, with the usual bourbon spice, and added sweetness. The bottle looks like a honey bottle with a HUGE cork. It was good, bur nothing to write home about, plus I believe the price went up (about $15 to now $21.99 in PA). Its a great bourbon for under $20, over and the competition has them beat.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • - Irishman up voted your review on 2012-11-29.

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ProfessorCocktail ProfessorCocktail (68)
Rating: 3.0 (2012-10-01)
This whiskey opens up with a sweet aroma of toffee, followed by a spicy bite on the tongue. Warm and bold, but not as well balanced as it could be. From my discussions with other bourbon fans, I've learned that Elijah Craig tends to be inconsistent, with some bottles outstanding and some, like this one, not as appealing. If you can find the 18-year-old expression, buy that instead. For not much more money it blows this one away.

For more reviews, including the results of our bourbon taste tests, please visit ProfessorCocktail.com.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • - BDanner up voted your review on 2015-08-01.

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Irishman Irishman (316)
Rating: 3.0 (2012-09-19)
This is a great bourbon for the price, but there are so many fantastic and better bourbons on the market that I Just couldn't rate this as 4 stars. The Elijah Craig 18yr is definitely better, but this is a decent aged bourbon for the money.
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ohio_outlaw ohio_outlaw (10)
Rating: 2.0 (2012-09-14)
Maybe I got a bad bottle, but this was harsh and almost not drinkable. Used ice to smooth it out, but there's so many other choices. Pass on this one.
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StanMemTn StanMemTn (135)
Rating: 3.0 (2012-09-09)
A bourbon I wish I could get more excited about. There are flavors and a spice here that just don't add up to a wonderful experience for me. I'm quite fond of the 18-year old expression but at this price point I'd be looking to Four Roses Small Batch or Maker's Mark 46 if I were shopping.
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Allan Allan (207)
Rating: 5.0 (2012-05-10)
Picked this up on the recommendation of a friend and it is now my favorite bourbon . Simply put ..Where can you get a 12yr old bourbon of this quality for this price. Great on the rocks but makes the best Old Fashioned I"ve ever had.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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whiskeytone whiskeytone (3)
Rating: 4.0 (2012-01-01)
Great bourbon for the money! Always have a bottle on my bar. Smokey and smooth with a great finish. Even better with a couple ice cubes.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • - jaketaz down voted your review on 2015-03-26.

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mixologist1 mixologist1 (7)
Rating: 3.0 (2011-06-11)
Another beginner bourbon. Straightforward palette with little to get excited about. Great for introducing newcomers to the world of bourbon.
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  • 096749000074
  • 096749000067
  • 022200006743
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