I thought about doing this battle blind (and maybe I will amend this with a blind addition in the future) but decided to just do a toe-to-toe battle similar to our Whiskey King of the Hill. Here I have the May 2019 (B519) release of Elijah Craig Barrel Proof, which clocks in at 122.2 proof, battling against the May 2020 (B520) release which shows up at 127.2 proof. It’s no secret that this bourbon is held in very high regard, and checks off a lot of boxes for an affordable and moderately available offering at barrel proof. What can I say that hasn’t already been said? Let’s look to the Elijah Craig website to see what they have for us:
Each batch of Elijah Craig Barrel Proof is an uncut Small Batch of 12-year-old Bourbon bottled straight from the barrel. The variance in proof from batch to batch presents a unique opportunity to explore the impact of the angel’s share and the resulting proof in a small batch of barrels.
The first letter of the batch number indicates which of that year’s releases the bottle was a part of, starting with “A,” while the second digit is a number that determines the month of the year the bottle was released. The third and fourth digits indicate the year.
Differences I notice before we even pour are fairly obvious: the 2019 (left) reads “Small Batch”, whereas the 2020 (right) is denoted as “Barrel Proof’ right on the bottle. Other superficial differences are plain to see on the sticker, which designates each to be Barrel Proof and gives the batch info. Okay, enough talk, let’s pour these and get to the battle!