Whisky Advocate Award: American Whiskey of the Year
Elijah Craig Barrel No. 3735 20 year old bourbon, 45%, $150
If there is one thing Heaven Hill has proven on numerous occasions, it’s that they know how to cherry-pick great whiskeys for their single barrel bottlings. They’ve been doing it for seventeen years now with their vintage-dated Evan Williams Single Barrel releases, many of which we’ve rated very highly. They also proved they can do it with rye whiskey, when they released their 25 year old single barrel Rittenhouse rye a couple years back (which we rated a 96).
In 2011, they did it again with a new bourbon. This time, it was a single cask, 20 year old Elijah Craig bottling, released to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Kentucky Bourbon Festival. Since it is a single barrel bottling, very few bottles were made available to the public, and they were only sold at Heaven Hill’s Bourbon Heritage Center in Bardstown, Ky. However, those of you who read the Whisky Advocate blog (whiskyadvocateblog.com) on a regular basis had a chance to procure a bottle of this special whiskey when we published our review of it back in early November.
What makes this whisky so great? It’s seamless, richly textured, and impeccably balanced. It’s complex too, with nutty toffee, pecan pie, apricot, berried jam, and nougat, peppered with cinnamon, mint, cocoa, and tobacco. It’s warming, with polished leather and dried spice on the finish.
This is an outstanding whiskey from a distilling company that continues to prove that they know how to make a wide range of excellent products, from great value whiskeys all the way to some of the finest whiskeys America has to offer. —John Hansell
Join us tomorrow for the Canadian Whisky of the Year announcement.