Monthly Archives: October 2010

Comparison Review: Elijah Craig 12 Year vs. Elijah Craig 18 Year Single Barrel Bourbon

Elijah Craig 12 Year Bourbon, 47% abv (94 Proof), $25/bottle

Elijah Craig 12 year is deep amber in color with one of the best noses in bourbon. It floods your nose with vanilla, caramel, oak, char and spiced fruit, with backnotes of dried fruits, flint, and mineral. Burned sugar, rye, vanilla, and spices assert themselves with the first sip. Maple syrup, char, and oak further anchor this whiskey giving it depth and heft that usually comes with far more expensive bourbons. The finish is long and intense with dry spice, char, and burned sugar. Elijah Craig 12 year is one of the best value whiskeys on the planet with richness, depth, and intense character.

Sour Mash Manifesto Rating: 8.9 (Superb/Outstanding)

VS.

Elijah Craig 18 Year Old Single Barrel, 45% abv (90 Proof), $50/bottle

Elijah Craig 18 Year Old Single Barrel takes time to open up. At 18 years on the barrel it’s a little bit understandable that this one would need more oxygen to really unfold itself to the sipper. The nose is tight to begin with and very barrel heavy – oak, char, cedar, and dryness. Light maple and vanilla tease but never quite assert themselves fully. An almost nail polish or acetone scent is given off that is actually very intriguing. Still the nose disappoints with its one sidedness. The flavors of char, resin, barrel tannin, light caramel, and pepper continue this one sided aspect with the first taste. Once again maple and vanilla linger in the background to add some depth and sweetness. Elijah Craig 18’s thin and light body yield a finish of moderate length with leather, spice, and oak. While a good bourbon, the one dimensional aspects left me wanting a bit more richness and sweetness to balance things out.

Sour Mash Manifesto Rating: 7.8 (Good/Solid)

Old Forester Birthday Bourbon 2010

Old Forester Birthday Bourbon 2010, 47.5% abv (95 Proof), $40/bottle

Welcome back Birthday Bourbon. Well, to be truthful it never went away, but recent offerings have been sub standard in comparison to earlier years. The 2010 release is right up there with some of the best from this limited edition product. That same deep red, amber color yields a big and rich nose of vanilla custard, clove, nutmeg, dark brown sugar, ginger, candied citrus peel (orange), and dried fruits. The oaky nuances are there, but never overpower the nose – love it! In the mouth, Birthday Bourbon assures with wonderful winter spices – clove and nutmeg, hot ginger, brown sugar, vanilla, raisin, and bitter orange. Sounds like the best the fall/winter has to offer doesn’t it? Again the oak is there but well integrated and a supporting character in spite of the fact this whiskey spent 12+ years in the barrel. The finish of this whiskey is superb – long and lingering hot and spicy with the bitterness of orange, sawdust and wood. Old Forester B-day is a fantastic pour of whiskey just in time for the holiday season.

Sour Mash Manifesto Rating: 9.3 (Superb/Outstanding)