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.)

A- / $90 / heavenhill.com

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9 Responses

  1. neandrewthal May 21, 2017 / 8:41 am

    Holy shit! That Price!

    • Tom Civiletti May 31, 2017 / 3:34 pm

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

  2. neandrewthal May 21, 2017 / 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 May 21, 2017 / 8:58 am

    I thought these aren’t 12 year old anymore?

  4. Burbndude June 2, 2017 / 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 July 5, 2017 / 12:48 pm

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

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