IT may not be the most famous or most expensive bourbon on the market, but Elijah Craig 12 is an excellent spirit from Heaven Hill, which is starting to make more and more people sit up and take notice.
Elijah Craig was born in Virginia in the mid-1700s, became a Baptist preacher, spent a couple of stints in jail and - more importantly - founded a distillery in 1789 in Fayette County, Kentucky. He is also credited with being the first person to discover the benefits of ageing whiskey in charred oak casks.
Now, I'm not sure that's true but what I do know is that his legend lives on thanks to Heaven Hill, who plonked his name on their flagship product and shipped it around the world, making thousands of people very happy in the process.
Pour a generous glug, stick your nose in the glass and you'll find a huge amount of complexity and it's one of those drinks I could happily sit and sniff for a few hours. It's sweet and deep, with creamy toffee, spicy cinnamon, vanilla, butterscotch, rum-soaked cherries, flat cola and oak wafting from the glass and there's even a faint citrus note lurking at the very back. It tastes just as good as it smells, with lots of dried fruit, spice, honey and wood coating the mouth.
The finish is long with a sweet oaky dryness and big marzipan notes which gently fade to leave a slightly salty caramel note at the back of the mouth.
Bottled at 47%, Elijah Craig 12 is a humdinger of a bourbon and is delicious straight or with a sliver of ice on a warm night. A great price and a great bourbon.