weller antique 107 review

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Bourbon C919

Elijah Craig C919 compressed v2

Distillery: Heaven Hill

Type & Region: Bourbon, Kentucky, USA

Alcohol: 68.4%

Composition: 78%, 10% rye, 12% barley

Aged: 12 years in virgin American white oak

Color: 1.5/2.0 on the color scale (auburn, polished mahogany)

Price: $60-70

From the Heaven Hill website:

 

“To sip Barrel Proof is to experience Bourbon in its purest form: uncut, straight from the barrel, and without chill filtering. Each bottle is hand labeled with its unique proof and batch number; but the nose, taste, and finish are pure Elijah Craig.”

Company Website

weller antique 107 overview

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Bourbon Batch C919 is the 3rd and final release from 2019 (C = September, 19 = 2019) of Heaven Hill’s 12 year old cask strength / barrel proof bourbon. It’s also one of the last bastions of 10+ year old cask strength bourbon for under $100, although as bourbon continues to become more popular, it also becomes just a little more difficult to find and more expensive by the day. 

 

Another major drawing point is that every release is truly small batch, as the ABV and overall personality will vary, so every batch brings a different experience. As a result, everyone will have their own personal favorite release. Surprisingly, I don’t drink as much Elijah Craig Barrel Proof as I probably should, so I don’t have a favorite. And yes, I am quite behind on these releases.

 

Time for me to re-experience this bourbon in this Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Bourbon C919 review.

weller antique 107 smell

It all starts with very dark caramel, brown sugar, oak, vanilla with some buttercream funk, and dark and roasted oak. One I get past that, I smell licorice, citrus peel, baked apples, cinnamon, and dark chocolate that hold their own with the toasted sugars and oak. While it has a little of that grassy and nutty Heaven Hill funk, there’s so much else going on that it’s easy to miss. The bonus is that even at 68.4% ABV, it’s nowhere near as hot as I’d expect to be, far less hot than EH Taylor Barrel Proof at 65% ABV. 

 

After swirling, Elijah Craig Barrel Proof C919 has rich and viscous mish-mash of caramel, brown sugar, vanilla, roasted crème brulee, orange peel, and baked apple with lighter licorice, maraschino cherry, and honeysuckle. I really notice the fragrant oak that adds a lot of darkness and richness with little harshness, a mix of gentle tobacco, roasted oak, and freshly sawn wood. While swirling definitely wakes up the ample heat, it does calm with time and for the most part this smells closer to 60% than 68% ABV. It’s great, but as dense and rich as Elijah Craig Barrel Proof is, it’s also kind of a jumbled mess and doesn’t have much definition. It’s often a mashed-up blob of all the various scents.

weller antique 107 taste & aftertaste

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof is intensely sweet with caramel, brown sugar, vanilla, citrus, cherry, spiced apple with cinnamon and nutmeg, and just a little licorice and anise. It’s all viscous, dark, and oaky, but not too burnt. Admittedly, it could be super oaky, but it’s so sweet that it may be counter-balancing it, overall making this a big bourbon with huge flavors. Even then, the ABV is extremely well controlled even at a face-melting 68.4% ABV.

 

With “chewing”, I taste caramel, vanilla, brown sugar, very oily oak, citrus, and baked apples, then some licorice and dark cherries, followed by a surge of rich oak, cinnamon, and clove. This is a brown sugar and vanilla bomb, and has a similar oily and viscous quality to EH Taylor Barrel Proof bourbon. It’s intense and a little hot at times, sometimes testing my ability to wade through all of it, but it’s worth it. But as I drink through this, I can’t shake the sense that the flavors are a delicious yet jumbled mess. Having had Lux Row 12 Year Double Barrel Bourbon (sourced from Heaven Hill and also 12 years old), I’ve noticed how each flavor is far more defined, as if the pop / sharpness (not harshness) filter was cranked up so I can more clearly taste everything. It also has a much more refined and mature oak and tobacco. Regardless of that comparison, Elijah Craig Barrel Proof C919 will take you to flavor town, so buckle up.

 

The finish is sweet, fruity, oaky, and oily all at once with tons of caramel, oak, cinnamon, dark chocolate, and mint. After “chewing”, there’s still a lot of caramel, citrus, apple, oak, dried grass, and licorice. It’s incredibly oily but not that bitter, so nicely controlled there.

Place on the Whiskey Shelf

Top Shelf

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof C919 is a dense bourbon that carries its 68.4% ABV well and doesn’t let the heat dominate the fragrant and flavorful brown sugar and vanilla-forward experience. It continues to be an exceptional value, especially at $60-70, holding its own against bourbons twice as expensive. It’s very easy for me to recommend this to anyone who wants cask strength bourbon, although honestly, I don’t keep any of these around like I do Stagg Jr.


As much as I’ve enjoyed Elijah Craig Barrel Proof C919, I also can’t help but constantly think that it’s a jumbled mess, as if everything was haphazardly throw-in together and doused in brown sugar and vanilla. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I say this because I’ve been drinking Lux Row 12 Year Double Barrel Bourbon, sourced from Heaven Hill who also makes Elijah Craig, and everything smells and tastes more defined, refined, and organized even at the same age (albeit at over double the price). Elijah Craig Barrel Proof is muddled and disorganized in comparison. Regardless, Elijah Craig Barrel Proof C919 is a delicious bourbon with a wild and chaotic side, although thankfully the heat generally stays in check. This is easy to  recommend, so I hope you enjoy!

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