Elijah Craig

89 Very Good

It’s hard to find fault with a bourbon this complex in this price range. At $35 or less, Elijah Craig remains a popular value buy amongst discerning bourbon drinkers, and is a staple of many bourbon bars.

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  • Aged 12 years (Note:  As of January, 2016, there is no age statement on Elijah Craig bottles.  This review is for an age-stated 12 year old bottle.)
  • 47% ABV (94 Proof)
  • Price: $26.99
  • Distilled/Bottled by Evan Williams/Heaven Hill
  • Availability: Readily Available

What it is:


Named for the 18th century Baptist Minister generally credited with pioneering the use of charred barrels, Elijah Craig is a 12 year old small batch offering from the Evan Williams catalogue of bourbons distilled at the Bernheim facility in Louisville, KY and bottled by Heaven Hill in Bardstown, KY.  It clocks in at 94 proof.

Packaging:Elijah Craig 12 bottle 2 vertical

Elijah Craig is packaged in a Sloped-shoulder cordial-style bottle with oversized cap covering the cork.  The label is cream and red.  It is an attractive packaging, though it doesn’t particularly stand out.


This bourbon poured a dark copper into a Glencairn tasting glass.  There is a definite hint of cloudiness.

Aroma:Elijah Craig 12 Label closeup

The nose is greeted with vanilla and caramel up front with a definite undertone of aged oak.  The aroma hints at the promise of some orange zest and citrus on the back end, though they don’t fully materialize.


This bourbon jumps right out of the gate on the tip of the tongue with maple and caramel flavors giving way to rye and spiciness on the middle of the tongue.  The age comes through on the tail with strong notes of oak and bitters.


Very long and powerful.  The oak continues, with pepper and cinnamon lingering well after the swallow.


It’s hard to find fault with a bourbon this complex in this price range.  At $35 or less, Elijah Craig remains a popular value buy amongst discerning bourbon drinkers, and is a staple of many bourbon bars.  At 94 proof, it’s just the right ABV to sip neat or with a splash of water.  Adding some distilled water opens up those citrus notes on the nose, but doesn’t greatly affect flavor.  Ice begins to overwhelm this bourbon, but its price makes it attractive in some bourbon cocktails such as the Old Fashioned and the Manhattan.  If you must drink this on the rocks, limit yourself to one small cube; just enough to cool down the liquor.

Elijah Craig is worthy of its praise, and drinks like a bourbon of a much higher price tag.

ModernThirst.com score: 89 out of 100 Points.

What does this score mean?

See Also:  Tasting Notes on the Non-Aged Stated Bottling.


Compare to: Noah’s Mill, Four Roses Small Batch.


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About Author

Bill is the Co-Founder, Editor-in Chief, and official Bourbon-o-Phile for ModernThirst.com, and Founder and Chief Blending Officer for Four Gate Whiskey Company. He is a native of Louisville, KY in the heart of Bourbon Country. He attended the University of Kentucky in the mid to late 1990s. He has also been published on Liquor.com. He has conducted various bourbon and whiskey tastings in cities across the country, and consulted for multiple national labels. He is married with two daughters, and lives in east Louisville. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter @BillStraub and email him at Bill@ModernThirst.com.


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  10. my wife thinks this tastes like poison….i can’t disagree…..does this mean we have no hope of refining our bourbon credentials?

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