Sipp’n Corn Tasting Notes: Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batches A120 and B520.

The first Elijah Craig 12-year Barrel Proof of 2020 was released in January and received immediate praise.  My first tastes of it couldn’t quite get past the heat, and then with the distraction of recent world events, I never made it back for my third taste.  Then I received the second batch of the year and the timing was perfect to compare the two.

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof A120 Tasting Notes

Bourbon:        Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Distillery:       Heaven Hill
Age:                12 years
ABV:              68.3% (136.6 proof)
Cost:               $60.00

Appearance:
Deep brown with a copper glint.

Nose:
Hot aromas that ease back with a little time to more pleasant caramel, brown sugar, and oak.

Taste:
Brown sugar and cherry drive this bourbon, along with some dried dark fruit, cinnamon, black pepper, and char.

Finish:
Long, warm finish with caramel taking the lead.

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof B520 Tasting Notes

Bourbon:        Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Distillery:       Heaven Hill
Age:                12 years
ABV:              63.6% (127.2 proof)
Cost:               $60.00

Appearance:
Practically identical to A120—both have the same beautiful deep brown and copper.

Nose:
Really hides the high proof.  Aromas are subtle compared to A120, but it has very inviting caramel, apple butter, brown sugar, and leather.

Taste:
Creamy sensation—caramel, cocoa, vanilla, slight cinnamon, and black pepper.  There’s some heat, of course, and it does great with a splash of water.  There’s a little less oak than A120, but I don’t miss it because of the wonderful balance.

Finish:
I loved the second wave on the finish.  Sustained warmth with balance of caramel, coca, baking spice, and oak—oh the oak!

Bottom Line

A120 marked back-to-back super-high proofs—the final batch of 2019 (C919) weighed in at 136.8 proof, so at a tenth of a percentage lower ABV, Batch A120 is essentially the same proof.  Batch C919 got some high accolades but it was too hot for me.  Batch A120 shares some of those characteristics and it received even greater accolades, but for my tastes I need to tame this one down with water too.  And with just a splash, Batch A120 roars to life.  It retains its robustness and adds creaminess and complexity.

B520 is more in the proof range that I tend to like for cask strength and overall between the two, I preferred it.  It’s balanced, creamy, and finishes strong.  These are both such solid pours and they maintain the Elijah Craig Barrel Proof series easily on top of the regular-release barrel proof options.  It’s the oldest regular barrel-proof release, yet it’s priced the lowest, and it routinely is a top-5 bourbon of the year.  I always pick one up whenever I see it.

Disclaimer: The brand managers kindly
sent me a bottle for this review,
without any strings attached.
Thank you.

2 Comments on “Sipp’n Corn Tasting Notes: Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batches A120 and B520.

  1. I loved the 919 (enough to stock a couple of spares). I thought that the 120 drank hotter and I don’t love it neat like the 19. Your description of the 520 is closer to my experience with the 919 despite the proof difference. Interested to to try that one.

    Like

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