I must admit this isn’t my first experience with Mr. Craig. We used to be great friends, he was under $20 a bottle and I was broke but developing some taste. Then Eli realized he was too good for me, went above that $20 sweet spot and I was left out in the cold experimenting. I’m not sure if this is the reunion of old friends or the return of the prodigal son, who thought he was too good for me and got all expensive and such. Well, he was too good for me. Even at the current $24 or whatever per bottle, Elijah Craig has a good deal to offer. Small batch, check. 12 years old, check. 94 proof, check 47 times. I guess it is still a steal, even if I can’t always afford it.
For the whiskey nerds out there, here is the quick story of Elijah Craig. In 1789 a Virginia preacher moved to Kentucky and started a distillery, where he decided to age his whiskey in charred oak barrels. For this reason some people claim he invented bourbon. A lot of people refute that claim, sighting the fact that there is absolutely no evidence. It’s irrelevant, because this whiskey is only named for that guy, not made by his ancestors. In fact, it’s made by Heaven Hill, one of those big bourbon houses down there in Kentucky that also makes Evan Williams, Old Fitzgerald, and…Heaven Hill. Craig is a higher end label for them, given its 12 years in the barrel, and there’s even a higher end Elijah Craig 18 that my taste buds probably have saliva-inducing dreams about. Speaking of my taste buds, let us return to what I have in my glass, before it’s empty.
First and foremost in my mind, this is exactly what bourbon should look like. In fact, this gorgeous amber is what water should look like. It should be my freakin’ birthstone and tombstone. Beauty isn’t only skin deep, my friends. On the inside, Eli is sweet, with brown sugar and molasses balanced by a vanilla that seems to evaporate off the palate. This is tasty whiskey, with a lingering complexity of spice and sweetness. In the end, the price change was well deserved; he deserves what he gets. Elijah is beautiful, warm, sweet, and rich. Everything you, and your girlfriend, wish you were.