Distiller: Heaven Hill. ABV: 47%. Age: 12 years. Mashbill: 75% corn, 12% rye, 13% malted barley. Price: $25-35.
It’s with a tear in my eye that I belatedly post this review on one of my standby house pours, the Elijah Craig 12-year-old. The distiller, Heaven Hill, has just confirmed (as of January 2016) what many of us long suspected: it’s discontinuing the 12-year-old in favor of a no-age-statement version that will be a mix of juice from 8 to 12 years old.
In a world of supply crunches, skyrocketing prices, and vanishing age statements, the EC 12 has stood apart less in terms of taste than in terms of value and consistency. It’s got a classic, straight-down-the-middle Kentucky bourbon profile, warm and familiar as a favorite pair of slippers. The price has been right, the proof is just high enough for some oomph, and it’s right in the sweet spot for bourbon maturation.
Nose of s’mores, vanilla bean, and shoe leather. Sweet, full, and warming palate with a creamy mouthfeel. A bit of the baking spice of a Wild Turkey, some toasty tobacco notes of a Buffalo Trace, and enough of the sweet corn goodness to hint at an Old Forester Birthday Bourbon. As well-rounded and satisfying as a $25-30 bourbon can be.
I feel like the EC 12 has never quite gotten its due from the enthusiast community, though I have no doubt it’s going to fly off the shelves now that we know it’s on the way out. Heaven Hill assures us the NAS won’t be far off in terms of profile–we’ll bring you a profile just as soon as we can–but we’re still sad to see this one go. Enjoy it while it lasts, friends! -BO