Elijah Craig Barrel Proof release #2 for 2021 is here, coded B521, and while it’s the typical 12 years of age, it’s unusual in that it’s the lowest proof release of the spirit in nearly two dozen of these special editions. At a “mere” 59.1% abv, are consumers getting robbed? Let’s find out.
You wouldn’t know this was “low” proof from nosing it. Aromatically it is just as scorching and pungent with ethanol as any other Elijah Craig Barrel Proof release, but with a little time in air things start to settle down a bit. Notes of white and Tabasco-like red pepper meld in interesting fashion with sweeter aromas of butterscotch, vanilla frosting, and a curious floral note that evokes rose petals and potpourri. The whiskey’s nose isn’t particularly wood-heavy, which surprises. The palate is warm but not scorching hot — and very, very sweet. A sugar bomb through and through, it evokes notes of maple syrup, more butterscotch, milk chocolate, and cinnamon buns, with some red berry elements building toward the long, warming finish. Sweetness is the theme here, and B521 feels pushed a bit too far in that direction for my tastes.