Elijah Craig’s Barrel Proof releases may not have sexy names — they’re monikered after the month and year they’re released — but they’re nonetheless highly prized by bourbon nuts, the same way that the seasonal Booker’s bourbon releases are.
The latest release is C918, bottled in September 2018. We tasted, and here’s how it acquits itself.
Those looking for delicacy can pass this one by. At over 65% abv, it’s much hotter than the last release, and carries a brooding nature that isn’t for the faint of heart. The nose is immediately, surprisingly smoky, with aggressive barrel char, bacon, and caramel corn notes. On the palate, notes of banana bread and walnuts are immediately intriguing and unusual, the very sharp (yet approachable) attack masking huge notes of caramel.
Water is an obvious boon here, though a few drops immediately bring out even more bold smoke and barrel char notes. Over time it settles into a groove of campfire embers, roasted meats, and nearly burnt sugar. The finish sees virtually no fruit, no sweetness at all — it’s a savory monster from start to finish, powerful with its frontier flavor profile but simultaneously modern in the way it’s constructed. Definitely worth a look, though it ultimately lands pretty far from the beaten path of your classic Kentucky bourbon.
A- / $90 / heavenhill.com [BUY IT NOW FROM CASKERS]