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Elijah Craig 18-Year (2015)

(4.25/5.0) A high-aged, complex whiskey worth the suggested retail price and perfect for oaky bourbon lovers.




Proof: 90 / ABV: 45%

Age: 18 years (barreled on 24 November 1997)

Distillery: Heaven Hill Distillery, Bardstown, Kentucky, USA

Mashbill: 78% corn / 12% rye / 10% barley

Retail Pricing: $120 in 2015 up to $230 at some stores

Availability: Rare. Annually released in November in a limited run. This was one of 15,000 bottles in 2015.


“Our 18-Year-Old Bourbon is bottled solely from the contents of one barrel, not the mingling of many. This expression of Bourbon-making craftsmanship is bold and robust. Truly a Bourbon for the avid collector, this bottle has won countless awards and is regularly listed as a top choice by those who appreciate its smooth yet complex flavor.” — Heaven Hill

…or without the marketing hype, an 18-year old Kentucky bourbon from a single barrel cut to 45% ABV and probably from some higher grade barrels than their other stuff.

This was the first release of the 18-Year following a 3-year hiatus from 2012 to 2014. The most recent release has totally revamped packaging which is a lot less attractive in my opinion. Back when I first got into bourbon, this was one of those super “coveted” bottles along with the Four Roses Single Barrel Limited Editions (at least in Colorado where I went to college). Oh! And that High West 21 Year Old Rye that I passed on for $75 and regret every day of my life…


Sensibles:  The nose on this one, spare a little bit of heat, is exactly what I’m after: crème brûlée, cotton candy, milk chocolate, leather, sweet smoke, even a bit of orange peel. The whole gang is here. The taste is rich and full, composed mostly of vanilla and honey and a small amount of oaky bitterness before becoming this wonderful buttered popcorn delight on the back of the palate. Ha, I sound pretentious as hell, but man I’m digging this one and all the flavors. The finish is medium-length, musty, and a bit dry. Love.

Value: I’m super into oaky bourbons and I’m a Heaven Hill fanboy so this is a win/win for me. Price-wise, you’re not going to find many annual releases with this high of an age statement (just Pappy 20/23, Sazerac 18, Elijah Craig 23, and a few one-offs). The proof is great, it doesn’t taste watered down or too hot. The suggested retail price is probably justifiable considering what bottlers and blenders are charging these days but be wary of the hype..this is an annual release and many stores are charging upwards of $200 for it. In Washington state it regularly goes for about $230 or higher. It’s worth having one of these in your collection for the high age, but I wouldn’t run out and grab every release.

Elijah Craig 18-Year (2015)
Reviewer 4.25
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