Bourbon Review

Bourbon Review: Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Review A123

Elijah Craig is named after Elijah Craig, a Baptist minister who is credited with inventing the process of charring the inside of oak barrels to age bourbon.

The first Elijah Craig Barrel Proof was released in 2013. It was a gift shop-only release, and the exact number of bottles that were released is unknown. However, it is believed that there were only a few hundred bottles. That first ever release was bottled at 134.2 proof.

Today’s review Elijah Craig Barrel Proof A123 was released in 2023 with an estimated production of 100,000 bottles. The batch was bottled at 125.6 proof and is the first release of  2023 bottling season. It also ends a string of 12 year age statements for this Barrel Proof bourbon as the next release B523 will come in at 11 years, 5 months.

History of Elijah Craig Barrel Proof

Batch Proof Year
B523 124.2 (Aged 11 Years, 5 Months) 2023
A123 125.6 2023
C922 124.8 2022
B522 121.0 2022
A122 120.8 2022
C921 120.2 2021
B521 118.2 (Lowest Poof) 2021
A121 123.6 2021
C920 136.6 2020
B520 127.2 2020
A120 136.6 2010
C919 136.8 2019
B519 122.2 2019
A119 135.2 2019
C918 131.4 2018
B518 133.4 2018
A118 130.6 2018
C917 131.0 2017
B517 124.2 2017
A117 127,0 2017
C916 136.0 2016
B516 139.4 2016
A116 138.8 2016
C915 135.6 2015
B515 139.8 2015
A215 128.0 2015
C914 140.2 (Highest Proof) 2014
B514 134.8 2014
A314 140.2 (Highest Proof) 2014
C913 133.2 2013
B713 137.0 2013
A313 134.2 2013

Editor’s Note: If you notice an error above please contact us. 

Bourbon Review: Elijah Craig Barrel Proof
62.8% (125.6 Poof)
Age: 12 Years
Mash Bill: 
78% Corn, 12% Malted Barley, 10% Rye
Elijah Craig Distillery Co. 
Bardstown, KY (USA)

The Nose: There is a lot happening on the nose of the Elijah Craig Barrel Proof. Thick caramel notes rise from the glass with hints of oak, and vanilla. A secondary pull from the glass adds touch of fudge to the mix as well.

The Taste: As expected there is a fair amount of heat; but also underlying flavors that are remarkably sweet. There is a rich caramel that is warm to the palate. Additionally there is a wonderful plum note and vanilla. The vanilla really pops on the long finish that is mouthwatering. A secondary sip sees the addition of leather on the front side with more vanilla on the finish.

The Pairing: Each year United Cigars teams with a manufacturer for a limited edition cigar called the Firecracker. The signature release happens every year around the 4th of July with smaller releases around other holidays. The concept of the brand is take a line, add some strength to it, giving it an explosive kick. Much like the Barrel Proof of Elijah Craig that utilizes the same mashbill as their regular small batch release.

This year the company teamed up with The Godfather of Cigars, Ernesto Perez-Carrillo. The cigar goes on sale Monday, June 19 2023 and we got our hands on one a bit early to pair with today’s bourbon. The cigar on its own has notes of red pepper, leather, rye and cacao.

When paired the cigar helps bring out some more leather components from the bourbon and erases most of the sweetness. The one exception the finish which tastes  like a warm fresh baked chocolate-chip cookie. Our pairing never affects our final score, but if it did we would add 2 points.

Conclusion: Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Bourbon Batch A123 marks the 31st release over 11 years this highly sought after bottling. I’m sure for many who look forward to these trio of yearly releases, not all hit the way we would hope. For me this is one of the better releases in recent memory. It’s smooth and fairly complex with a nice balance of heat and sweetness. I’m always hesitant to grab more than one bottle but in this case I wish I grabbed at least two.

Score: 94
Price: $59.99 (750ml in New Hampshire)


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