Spirit: Bourbon Whiskey, 94 proof (47% Alcohol)
Availability: Common, $30 Retail
Mashbill: 75% Corn; 13% Barley; 12% Rye
Rating / Score: 88% or B, B+
With the bourbon craze in full swing and price gouging everywhere, its great to see great bottles of bourbon still available at the reasonable retail price of $30 like this one. If someone wants to know the definition of bourbon, this would be it. Not the really high end stuff, not the rotted barrel whiskey. This is the epitome of what bourbon is if someone came to me from another place or planet and said “give me bourbon”. If they did not like this, the would not like any bourbon at all. Its not perfect, but it embodies everything bourbon is, or should be.
What is a bonus for those who are obsessed with an age statement, this is 12 years old. What this means is that while some of whiskey used to make it might actually be of even older vintages, the youngest is 12 years, which is what the label must state by law, the youngest age of bourbon used.
Color: Dark Red / Brown
Nose: Caramel, Vanilla, Honey, hot (you smell the alcohol)
Taste: Hot, honey, caramel
Finish: Warm, caramel, vanilla, honey
This bourbon is good neat, on the rocks or even in a high-end cocktail. Its got a bit of burn which some serious bourbon drinkers like, but its also smooth enough to drink or mix. My first experience with bourbon was actually with Elijah Craig at The Lambs Club in Manhattan with the owner “Iron Chef” Geoffrey Zakarian. The cocktail is called a “Gold Rush” and is simple but delicious if prepared correctly. Its honey, lime juice and Elijah Craig 12 year bourbon served over a very large hand carved square ice cube. Many, nearly all, overlook the importance of ice. But Chef Zakarian realizes that a perfectly shaped cube of ice will keep the drink cold for a long time without diluting the cocktail since it melts very slowly.
This bottle is a winner and one would be foolish to let it slip by, especially because its cheaper than most of the bourbons out there today. If you can find it at the retail price of $30 there will be no regrets knowing you can easily mix it in a whiskey sour, old fashioned or the Gold Rush pictured above.