Bought – Marks & Spencer, 16th September 2014
You might be wondering why I have two bottles in the picture below. So am I. Marks & Spencer were selling it for £5 less than anywhere else, even online. When I bought a bottle they gave me a ‘£5 Off’ voucher if I spent £25 or more so I got another bottle, this time £10 less than anywhere else. 2015 was meant to be my bourbon year but it looks like I’ve started early. Perhaps a lucky friend or relative will be getting my second bottle for Christmas.
I need to get the Whisky Bible 2011, which will include bourbons the author (Jim Murray) tried in 2010 when Ralfy also reviewed the Elijah Craig. In 1996, the distillery that produce Elijah Craig was mostly destroyed in a fire. The 12yo reviewed in the 2009 bible gets 86/100 but the author is suspicious that this is old stock, rather than an example of post-fire production. By 2014 Jim Murray knows the bourbon is from the new distillery and he’s not exactly complimentary. I’d be interested to know what Ralfy would think if it now.
The good news is that the majority of recent reviews for this bourbon on ‘Master of Malt’ are 5/5 stars. I adore the bottle shape, and the 47% is a good strength to give the drink some depth. I also see that the last reviewer for this bourbon on Whiskybase gives it 93/100. Perhaps I’ll be keeping that second bottle after all!
Update (22nd Dec 2014). I’ve tried this bourbon over several months, with various amounts of water. My conclusion is, add something! Coke, ginger ale, whatever. I think the Whisky Bible mark of 79/100 is generous. There’s no way of hiding the ‘burnt’ element of this spirit without a stronger, sweet mixer, with good masking skills. I wish I’d had a chance to experience the old version of Elijah Craig because this version is, sadly, terrible. If you get a bottle, I’d recommend drinking it at the end of the night when better drink has numbed your taste buds!