Review: Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch B517 (May 2017)

Review: Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch B517 (May 2017)

As we reported in January, Heaven Hill recently revamped the way Elijah Craig Barrel Proof was being presented, and that bottles would now carry a batch ID on each label, the first being A117 in January.

Now the second release of the 12 year old Elijah Craig Barrel Proof for 2017 is here: B517, signifying May 2017. Here’s a look at this offering, compared side by side with the 127-proof A117 release and the original 2013 release of this whiskey.

Though lighter in proof than even the comparatively quiet A117, this is an Elijah Craig release that’s bold and full of flavor. On the nose, the whiskey is immediately redolent of buttered popcorn, tempered with lots of baking spice, dried ginger, barrel char, and butterscotch. The palate follows along in lockstep — though it ultimately shows itself to be a bit more bittersweet than expected, with quite strong and tannic notes of scorched wood on the back of the palate. Water’s a huge friend here, bringing out notes of brown sugar, orange peel, and sweet licorice candy — and going a long way toward taming that bitter, barrel-driven element in the bourbon.

As with earlier expressions of Elijah Craig Barrel Proof, this is a cask strength release that benefits from a careful hand, exposure to air, and a healthy amount of water at the ready. Give it a try, no question.

124.2 proof. (Updated photo unfortunately not available.)


Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch B517 (May 2017)




Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content creation company.


  1. neandrewthal on May 21, 2017 at 8:41 am

    Holy shit! That Price!

    • Tom Civiletti on May 31, 2017 at 3:34 pm

      No kidding. We used to be able to buy 12 year old EC for under $30.

  2. neandrewthal on May 21, 2017 at 8:43 am

    Haha. Just realised the price was the same on the last batch reviewed and I already complained about that. Ignore me!

  3. Elmo on May 21, 2017 at 8:58 am

    I thought these aren’t 12 year old anymore?

    • Jeremy on May 22, 2017 at 7:35 pm

      They are still 12-year, but the age statement is on the side of the bottle. Also, regarding price, I think MSRP is well under $90, so I’m not sure what the $90 price tag reported here is based on.

    • Christopher Null on May 22, 2017 at 7:41 pm

      $90 is the typical street price — we try to get up to date pricing from — i.e.:

    • Christopher Null on May 23, 2017 at 8:32 am

      As Jeremy noted, the age statement is now on the back label. For now, it’s still a 12 year old.

  4. Burbndude on June 2, 2017 at 12:02 pm

    Yes Tom, we did get EC 12 for under $30; but that was the small batch at 94 proof, not the Barrel Proof that’s reviewed here! The small batch is no longer 12 years old but is NAS.

  5. Steer's tookus on July 5, 2017 at 12:48 pm

    I picked up a bottle of ECBP B517 at HH in Bardstown last week for $75. Pricey enough!

  6. Tight5Todd on August 4, 2017 at 11:23 am

    Just picked one up in Atlanta for $69.

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