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Elijah Craig Single Barrel 18 Year Old Bourbon Whiskey (750ml)
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- ABV 45%
Reverend Elijah Craig was an extraordinary pioneer in the the US State of Kentucky. He opened the state's first classical school and donated land to establish Georgetown College. He built the first fulling mill (for cloth), ropewalk (for hemp), paper mill, lumber and grist mills in the state. And to round it all out, in 1789 founded a distillery. It's here that the whiskey legends begin.
Craig is often referred to as “the inventor” or "Father" of Bourbon whiskey as we know it today, by virtue of being the first to store and transport (and in the process mature) corn whiskey in charred oak casks. The Bourbon scholar Charles Kendrick Cowdery has a slightly more reticent take on this history. “Craig was a real person - a major character in early Kentucky history - and he was a distiller… What is lacking is any evidence that Craig's whiskey was unique in its day.”
Cowdrey offers an interesting take on how the legend may have gained the status of historical fact. In the face of religious and prohibitionist anti-whiskey ferment, the pro alcohol lobby found inspiration in Craig “...distillers and their supporters were quick to embrace the notion that bourbon was 'invented' by a respected Baptist preacher!” It was clever propaganda that must have enraged prohibitionists and left others questioning the righteousness of the movement.
This is the oldest commercially released single barrel Bourbon in the world, with two thirds of the original production lost to the “angel’s share.” The remainder is hand selected by master distillers, Parker and Craig Beam, delivering an extraordinarily complex and long whiskey of sensational value. Very few barrels are aged to 18 years in the Bourbon world. This one is up there with some of the best.
Tasting Notes: Deep gold burnished brass colour. Mild shellac at first, dissipates after a minute or two revealing a lovely bouquet of grilled corn and roast nuts followed by nuances of potpourri, vanilla and clove. A terrific Bourbon sniff that retains its freshness with a hint of spearmint. Medium dry, soft entry builds into a perfectly balanced flavour harmony; warming rye spiciness at first becoming classically Bourbon sweet at mid palate, after which a rye-like influence takes hold again finishing with a dry spicy flourish. Excellent length. Very long aftertaste with a trace of spearmint and vanilla at the fade. Outstanding whiskey - and all the more remarkable given the atypical price / age ratio.
Other reviews... Due to inventory shortages, this bottling had been discontinued; in fall 2015, it returned after a three-year hiatus. This is a robust, full-flavored whiskey, scented with oak and toffee. It tastes almost like an Old Fashioned, meaning distinct orange peel and cherry notes intertwined with the vanilla and caramel. The long finish offers vanilla, oak and orange peel.
95 points - www.winenthusiast.com