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Cigar Spirits: Elijah Craig 18 Year Single Barrel Bourbon

10 Aug 2011

From time to time I browse my local liquor store (which, unfortunately, is a state-run Virginia store) in search of something new or exciting to try. The bourbon and rum sections are my favorite, and the last time I dropped by I was pleased to find the Elijah Craig 18 Year Old bourbon sitting there, on “sale” for $43.

Elijah Craig 18 Year Single Barrel BourbobThe standard Elijah Craig was always a dependable good bourbon, and so I had high expectations for it’s most rare expression, the 18-year-old, single barrel variety. Made at the Heaven Hill Distillery, this bourbon is crafted side-by-side with another favorite of mine: Evan Williams Single Barrel.

The Elijah Craig 18 is a slightly cloudy amber-colored bourbon. The nose is distinctly sweet, with toffee, nut, and caramel. The flavors are that of a well-aged bourbon: oak and char from extensive aging combined with vanilla, butter, oak, corn, and smoke. It’s a very intense flavor, but there’s only a hint of spice on the finish and an overall smoothness that’s very enjoyable.

It’s the type of bourbon that can hold up well when paired with a full-flavored cigar. I smoked one of the new Tatuaje Faustos with it and found an enjoyable pairing. Also recommended would be the EO 601 Green, Fuente Opus X, Roman Allones Specialy Selected and PG 20th Symphony.

All in all, there’s not much to dislike about the Elijah Craig 18 Year. It’s a tasty, balanced spirit that doesn’t let you forget it’s a bourbon. And it does so at the competitive price of $45 for a fifth, pricing it just under similarly excellent spirits such as Blanton’s and Booker’s.

I found it an excellent finish to a dinner consisting of well-grilled rib eye steak and a hearty Bordeaux wine. Bourbon drinkers looking for a hearty, well-aged bourbons to add to their collection would be well-advised to give the Elijah Craig 18 Year a try.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Drew Estate

One Response to “Cigar Spirits: Elijah Craig 18 Year Single Barrel Bourbon”

  1. bill Wednesday, August 10, 2011 at 2:16 pm #

    It seems odd to have liquor stores owned by der State. I assume it's some misquided throw back to prohibition or some goody two shoes "capitalists shouldn't make money off of evil alchohol" or they think only the state can handel it responsibly. You would that by now they would realize that the least efficient way to handle just about anything other than the military is by the government.