With this month’s release of Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch A122, Heaven Hill is celebrating 10 years of the cask strength “Father of Bourbon” expression. It’s gained a few new family members since its birth in 2013, most recently Elijah Craig Toasted Barrel and Elijah Craig Rye, but most importantly, it’s brought ten years of heat for barrel proof bourbon lovers. Read on for 10 fun facts about your favorite high proof pour.
1. Barrel proof isn’t always the same proof – Batches of Elijah Craig Barrel Proof have ranged from an all time low of 118.2 (B521) to a hazmat highest proof of 140.2 (C914). On average over the past 10 year, ECBP clocks in at 131.8 proof. (Hazmat stands for hazardous material – if a spirit is bottled above 140 proof, it’s actually illegal to fly with it.)
2. Award winning – Elijah Craig Barrel Proof used to be pretty regularly available – but after taking the Whiskey of the Year title from Whisky Advocate in 2017, bottles began to be snatched off the shelves.
3. Walk the plank – The original bottle style of ECBP is now known as the “pirate bottle.” Today’s bottles, launched in 2016, are slimmer and taller with sleeker labels.
4. Batch, please – The batch system was implemented post-package change as the distillery noticed consumers collecting the releases and needing a way to track the proofs as each launched. (Psst – here’s how to decode your bottles!)
5. Blended to be it’s best – “Each edition is picked for consistency of quality and taste rather than to create a hype edition,” says the distillery. “For example, the 140.2 proof edition wasn’t picked for its ‘hazmat’ designation, but because our team picked it to taste.”
6. Pick your poison – 2021 marked the first year that Heaven Hill offered single barrel picks of Elijah Craig Barrel Proof. Previously, all Elijah Craig single barrel selections were at the brand’s classic 94 proof.
7. Drinking age – Every batch of Elijah Craig Barrel Proof ever bottled has been a minimum of 12 years old, although the age statement has moved around on the label – and even disappeared from the 94 proof Small Batch expression. Today, it’s found on the left hand side of the bottle.
8. Limited edition – Just three batches of ECBP come out each year, and once they’re gone, they’re gone. Search shelves in January, May, and September – although distribution to certain areas might lag.
9. The price is right – If you can find ECBP in the wild, you can expect to pay around $75 for the 12-year, cask strength Kentucky Bourbon. For a sourced brand with the same specs today, you could pay between $200-300.
10. Made just for you – “Elijah Craig Barrel Proof was initially released as consumer trends shifted towards higher proof offerings along with a demand for more transparency and education,” says the distillery. “Each barrel proof provides the opportunity to taste like a distiller would: uncut, straight from the barrel, and without chill filtering.”