Bottle Polishing: Random Pairs, Part 1

Some bottles hang around open for a few years, whilst others get obliterated. Elijah Craig 12yo fits the latter.


Elijah Craig 12yo [2015] Ob. [Heaven Hill] Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey 94 proof 47% WB78.80[7] [WF]85 Ralfy91

About as complete a bourbon aroma as you are likely to find…one of the most beautiful noses found anywhere in the world today. A bourbon to keep in the mouth forever.’ Jim Murray.

  • N: What kept me most engaged was this biscuity flannel fungal aspect [that could be attributable to the char], and the various sugars that came in waves, out from under a fusty-solvent-y herbal bedrock. Descriptors [if interested], spoke of a tempered resinousness with some turpentine, a herbal>vanilla [with occasional fruit syrup] sweetness, a little deep damp flannel/sawdust action, damp Nice biscuits, ozone/floral, charred liquorice wood, shelled peas, chick pea skin, … quite some combos! Bitter herbal cream soda comes with time. Ralfy’s ‘vanilla cheesecake’ note from 2010 [vlog], isn’t far off the mark for this edition, 7 years on.

Elijah Craig.jpg

  • T: Delivers a firm hit everytime. Resinous/varnish-y, solvent-y >>chalky< mouldy flannel sits juxtaposed between the herbal & syrup-y/biscuit sweetness and an even richer/deeper sweetness yet to come. However, it’s the edgy herbal > medicinal synthesis that keeps the ride going,…and going,…
  • F: ,… the journey eventually giving way to vanilla, dry caramel cream soda, more flannel touches, firm & dry herbal notes, a dry dark oakiness and a sweet fully-fusty medicinal<liquorice mouth-freshener finish. It’s vanilla-woody dry at the death with more solvent-y damp detergent-y flannel to the last –  but everything I have mentioned keeps swirling round. Really impressive form throughout, the whole bottle delivering the same calibre.
  • C: Lots to dig, and dig into, this is an alluring big-on-character bourbon, yet sadly long-since discontinued as a 12yo – for now. I’m not sure how many whole bottles of bourbon I’ve had, but I’m keen to have this one around at all times, if I can find one. Memorable. With huge thanks to Lauren.

Scores 86 points



Kavalan Solist Sherry Ob. cask #S090608012B [#233/509] 57.1%

I strongly disliked this when I first opened it, and equally disliked it a few months later. I disliked it so strongly, I ended up placing it next to the unloved Laphroaig Select. A year later, it’s thoroughly changed & developed as I slowly repair my Kavalan love affair.

Kavalan logo

  • N: The outrageous sulphury rubberiness on opening has subsided beyond recognition, now formed of new, previously undiscovered layers. There’s not a great deal of complexity, but it is now at least rather inviting, in a youthful yet competent way with hessian citrus touches and a freshness that compliments the pongy-sweet rubbery caramel. Rosehip, elderflower and dried mint also feature. More water brings a fresher, sweet floral character, and to a lesser extent, a coppery vibe.

Kavalan Solist Sherry Ob. cask #S090608012B [#233:509] 57.1%.JPG

  • T: A bold, simple yet appealingly curious sugary-sweet arrival with a sweet yet > tart grapefruit citrus move into rubbery caramel > cacao > milk chocolate. There’s plenty more rubbery waxiness on the turn with a controlled seasoned pepperiness. The mouthfeel is stupidly competent for a 3yo. 
  • F: Cracked pepper >> icecream < caramel & chocolate notes come through fully, reminiscent of the last Glenfarclas 105 I enjoyed in Thailand a few years back. Appropriately, this would also match a warm climate. With a decent length, I enjoyed a pleasing waxy sweet finish with a warm citrus rum hint & caramel wafer to end.
  • C: This went from a very poor to a fine score, but it took over a year. In that time, I nearly lost the faith. The odd balance between the sulphury pong and a curious, almost desirable sweetness, make this drinkable for sure, with a strange allure.

Scores 86 points






Bottle polishing all sorts

3 thoughts on “Bottle Polishing: Random Pairs, Part 1

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