There was some controversy when Heaven Hill discontinued their 6 year old bottled in bond bourbon, a sub-$20 bourbon that was lauded as one of the best budget bourbons, and replaced it with a 7 year old bottled in bond bourbon at double the price. While I haven’t had the 6 year, I have had a lot of other Heaven Hill bourbons including the 7 year Bottled in Bond and Elijah Craig Small Batch. I mention this because after reviewing the 7 year bottled in bond, I was very curious to find out how it compared to Elijah Craig Small Batch since I still had some sitting around to use.
Bear with me here – I believe that Elijah Craig Small Batch is one of the best bourbons under $30 (at least around me) while Heaven Hill 7 Year is ok. While that sounds outrageously biased, I do my best to put my past experiences and biases aside for these comparisons because I truly want to know which one is better. This comparison is probably even more important for many (including myself) because Elijah Craig is everywhere while Heaven Hill 7 Year Bottled in Bond is only distributed in a few states, none of which are anywhere near where I live. Let’s find out if we’re missing out on anything in this Elijah Craig Small Batch vs Heaven Hill 7 Year Bottled in Bond comparison.
The below table outlines key facts and figures for each bourbon.
Based on price alone, Heaven Hill 7 Year Bottled in Bond should win, but oh boy is that wrong. I can tell immediately that Elijah Craig Small Batch is richer, more complex and vibrant, and ultimately better in every way. The difference is especially pronounced in the flavors, where Elijah Craig has more sweet, fruity, and oaky depth, a more viscous mouthfeel, and doesn’t at all taste lifeless like flat soda. Elijah Craig even has an interesting floral brightness that adds another layer of fun. Heaven Hill 7 Year Bottled in Bond has more dry oak, cracker, and grain that I don’t like as much, but that’s the least of its problems when it smells and tastes under-developed and more like Wild Turkey 101, which is an ok bourbon. I also noticed that Heaven Hill 7 Year has the same lightly sour and funky vanilla note that’s in Evan Williams Bottled in Bond, while that funk is absent in Elijah Craig.
My point is that you you’re not missing out on Heaven Hill 7 Year Bottled in Bond. Elijah Craig Small Batch and Evan Williams Bottled in Bond are so much better and very easy to find. Those two are some of the best bourbons under $30 while Heaven Hill 7 Year is one of the most disappointing bourbons I had in 2021.