UPDATED: Feb 10th, 2021
Barrel proof bourbon drinkers rejoice – the latest release of Elijah Craig Barrel Proof and Larceny Barrel Proof are beginning to hit shelves across the country as we speak. If you’ve ever spotted a bottle, you may have been mystified by a little four character batch number on the bottom right of the label. Not to worry – we’re here to help you figure out exactly which release you have in hand.
Heaven Hill introduced a 12-year-old, unfiltered barrel proof expression of their readily available 94 proof Elijah Craig Small Batch in 2013. In 2020, the distillery released a cask strength, non-chill filtered bottling of their wheated Larceny Bourbon, aged 6 to 8 years. Luckily, the secret language for these bottles is the same, even though each small batch release will vary in proof and taste profile. Bottles on shelves now will both sport the code A121 – but what does that mean? We’re breaking it down for you below.
1. The Letter
Each code begins with a letter – A, B, or C. The letter simply lets you know if the bottle is from the first (A), second (B), or third (C) release of the year.
2. The First Number
The first number is the digit immediately after the letter. It refers to the month of the year in which the bourbon was released – 1 for the 1st month of the year, January, 5 for May, and 9 for September. Both the Elijah Craig and Larceny Barrel Proof expressions have three releases a year, usually in those three months.
3. The Last Two Numbers
The last two numbers are easy. They’re simply the last two digits of the year in which the release hit shelves – 18 for 2018, 20 for 2020, and so forth.
“A naming convention for the release is shown on each bottle,” explained the distillery in a press release. “The alpha character in the naming convention designates which batch of the year that bottle came from, the numeral that follows represents the month of the release, and finally the last two digits indicate the corresponding year of the release. For example, the first release [of Larceny Barrel Proof] will be A121, with “A” representing the first batch of that year, “1” representing January, and “21” representing the year 2021.”
If you’ve found variation between releases and are looking to find an old favorite, hopefully this helps you figure out which bottle you need to track down. For more info, find the full breakdown by proof here for Elijah Craig Barrel Proof at www.heavenhilldistillery.com! We’ll be sure to update once the Larceny Barrel Proof releases start stacking up.