This is the newest product from Heaven Hill in the Elijah Craig line of whiskeys. It has been in the market for less than a year and there are a select few states that compose that market. Kentucky is not one of the states where this whiskey is distributed. This is a shame as this is a very good rye. I am not sure what the retail price of this whiskey is because this bottle came to me by winning it in a charity auction at Westport Whiskey and Wine. I do hope that Heaven Hill will sell this rye in their gift shops here in Kentucky. I would like to be able to purchase another bottle somewhere along the line.
There is no mention of a mash bill on the labels, but they do mention corn. I suspect that this is a barely legal rye with only 51% to 55% rye and about 35% corn with 10% barley malt. What the label does say is “Spicy rye perfectly balanced with corn for a distinctively smooth taste”. Heaven Hill uses 53 gallon barrels with a 125 barrel entry proof and iron clad rick warehouses.
Elijah Craig Rye Whiskey
Age: No Age Statement
Nose: A very simple nose. There is some rye grassiness and baking spices – gingerbread is what comes to mind. Surprisingly, there is only the faintest whiff of wood. I had to warm the whiskey to get that whiff of oak.
Taste: Rye grass, caramel, ginger and nutmeg spices, and a little oak wood on the back. Tasting this rye with a dried cranberry brought out a note of chocolate and a little blackberry fruit. Tasting this with a pecan and the vanilla comes out strong, with a note of citrus and baking spices that reminds me of a ginger cookie.
Finish: This is where this whiskey shines with a dry finish of oak and black pepper that lingers for a pleasant length of time. The cranberry made the finish shorter and sweeter with some lingering blackberry notes and white pepper. The pecan made the finish dry with oak and citrus with only the smallest amount of pepper spice.I am pairing this rye whiskey with a Nat Sherman Timeless Panamericana Gordo cigar. This is one of my favorite cigars with smoke that is a sweet, earthy tobacco with a touch of vanilla and caramel and a hint of dried fruit like prunes or apricots. This rye whiskey enhanced the vanilla and caramel sweetness of the smoke. The smoke did not do much for the whiskey. I found that the smoke made the whiskey more tannic and grassy, while dampening the sweeter flavors of the rye. I might have to try this whiskey with a different cigar – maybe a My Father – The Judge with its chocolate fudge notes in the smoke.
Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller