We all have high hopes for 2021, and if one thing is for certain, Elijah Craig 12-Year Barrel Proof can be counted on year in and year out. The first edition of Elijah Craig Barrel Proof for 2021 is lower proof than all three of last year’s batches, and it’s the lowest since Batch B519. I tend to like barrel proofs in the 120’s better than those in the 130’s, so I was excited to see this proof.
In the meantime, Larceny’s inaugural year for its Barrel Proof edition saw so much fanfare, from things like Double Gold at San Francisco to Whiskey of the Year from Whiskey Advocate. Starting so strong out of the gate sets the bar pretty high for 2021, where the first edition is a little lower than last year’s proofs, just like A121 for Elijah Craig.
Elijah Craig Barrel Proof A121 Tasting Notes
Bourbon: Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Distillery: Heaven Hill
Age: 12 years
ABV: 61.8% (123.6 proof)
Dark amber brown.
Oak leads the aromas along with the expected rich caramel and vanilla, and a mocha chocolate candy. This is decidedly sweeter than many of the Elijah Craig Barrel Proofs and really enjoyable, if a bit subtle.
The flavors flood in—a backbone of oak is balanced with caramel, cinnamon glazed pastry, and a slight orange zest. Nothing overly complex or unexpected, but so satisfyingly balanced. This is what I think of when I think bourbon.
Long and warming with a cocoa and pralines.
Larceny Barrel Proof A121 Tasting Notes
Bourbon: Larceny Barrel Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Distillery: Heaven Hill
Age: NAS, but 6-8 years
ABV: 57.4% (114.8 proof)
Amber with more of a copper tone.
Candy corn, corn bread, and a little medicinal or floral.
Most notably, this Larceny Barrel Proof has more black pepper spice than I’m used to in a wheated bourbon. Great sweetness from caramel, vanilla, graham cracker, and honey. Not really any fruit sweetness—it’s more of a candy sweetness, and then followed by the misplaced spice.
Crisp and medium in length.
This first batch of Elijah Craig Barrel Proof starts 2021 off on the right foot as a classic bourbon. This has been a can’t miss release and, no matter the batch, and I highly recommend picking this up whenever you see it. Elijah Craig continues to be the top barrel proof brand out there.
The year’s first batch of Larceny Barrel Proof needs a little air to open up. After letting it rest the pepper subsides into more of complimentary role, which is precisely what it needed. Four batches in and I’m still excited for the promise of Larceny Barrel Proof.
Disclaimer: The brand managers kindly
sent me samples for this review,
without any strings attached.