Here today we have a gift shop only release from the folks over at Heaven Hill which is affectionately referred to as the Elijah Craig "hand grenade" for obvious reasons. It seems this product exists solely for the purpose of gift shop distribution which I think is great - I wish more distillery gift shops would do bottle sizes like this. The standard Elijah Craig dropped an age statement a couple years ago but is still a blend of 8+ year old stock. I actually like the new blend better than the old age statement product simply because it's not as oak forward / bitter. I'm expecting this is a higher proof version of the current standard product and as such I expect it will be pretty good.
Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey; No Age Statement; 62.5% ABV; $25 / 200ml
Nose: A bit hot for 125 proof - the ethanol is very noticeable. Underneath that it is a wallop of wood and maple syrup sugary notes which are reminiscent of Elijah Craig Barrel Proof.
Taste: Upfront taste is more of the same from the nose, a ton of woody sugar notes. Lots of oak but it's not overly bitter or dry. Along with all that wood influence are syrupy sweet notes for days - it's like drinking bourbon pancakes. The finish is a lot of those woody and sweet notes but there are also traces of ashy char and harsh ethanol which are just a touch too hot for my taste.
Thoughts: This is good but not great. It's not as elegant or easy as the standard Elijah Craig nor is it as bold / punch you in the mouth as the 12 year Barrel Proof. As such, it seems to kinda dance around in the middle without much of an identity. It wants to be brash and it has the proof to be so but it's missing all the wood punch that makes that boldness work for the Barrel Proof. It's a nice novelty product but I won't be clamoring for them to release anything like this nationwide anytime soon.
Rating: B / B-
Note that price is not considered when assigning a rating.