I’ve often said that Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon is the most consistent and best value in all of bourbon. As Rye Whiskey continues to gain in popularity, Heaven Hill has expanded beyond its Rittenhouse brand and one of my favorite Rye Whiskeys—Pikesville—to fill an obvious gap between those two with the newest addition, Elijah Craig Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey.
Elijah Craig Straight Rye Tasting Notes
Whiskey: Elijah Craig Straight Rye
Distillery: Heaven Hill
Age: not stated
ABV: 47% (94 proof)
Mild caramel aromas on a backbone of black pepper.
The flavors begin with bourbon-like caramel, but more like the Homemade Ice Cream & Pie Kitchen’s Dutch Apple Caramel Pie (readers from Louisville will understand), rounded out by cinnamon, baking spices, and black pepper with a slight kick of mint. It’s an easy-drinking whiskey without much oak influence and it’s best poured neat.
Sweetness shines in the finish—more caramel along with vanilla, but followed by the rye grain influence and shifting to an elegant rye spice as it fades.
At a mere 51% rye grain (the bare minimum to be a Rye Whiskey), the new Elijah Craig Straight Rye drinks much like a really high-rye bourbon, which because of the corn sweetness and more nuanced and complex flavors, I prefer to the flood of Indiana 95% ryes. Plus, Heaven Hill is positioning Elijah Craig Straight Rye at a value price, which is unique under the current whiskey mindset. I hope that as Heaven Hill’s stock of Rye Whiskey continues to grow and age that we’ll see more of an oak contribution in Elijah Craig Straight Rye, but in the meantime, Heaven Hill has another winner.
Elijah Craig Straight Rye was released in January 2020. Currently you’ll only be able to find it in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Oregon (hopefully Kentucky is not too far behind). But what I’m really hoping for is that once Heaven Hill has enough older stock, we’ll see an Elijah Craig 12-year Barrel Proof Rye.
Disclaimer: The brand managers kindly
sent me a bottle for this review,
without any strings attached.