Even though bourbon traces its roots back to Kentucky, most States in the US are adapting to making it to suit non-whisky lovers. It is no surprise that the same people will want to know the brains behind Elijah Craig’s “small batch.” For starters, Elijah Craig is a bourbon brand from Heaven Hill Distillery. The bourbon’s name comes from Elijah Craig, a renowned preacher who found himself in jail and became a founding father of bourbon. Here are 10 other things you didn’t know about Elijah Craig’s small batch.
1. Craig’s profile prevailed more in the 18th century
You already know that Jesus turned water into wine in the bible. The story isn’t different with Elijah Craig. He was a renowned preacher whose profile prevailed more in the 18th century. Growing up, Craig worked for a cloth and rope factory in Kentucky and Virginia. He became a preacher in a Baptist church. At the time, it was illegal to preach without a license. So, Craig faced jail time for breaching the offense. It didn’t take time before he started his distillery in 1789, marking the beginning of oak-aged corn whiskey.
2. He received credit for becoming the first person to invent charred oak barrels
The main difference between bourbon and regular whisky is that the former requires a mixture of corn before undergoing distillation. The mash should be distilled at 160 proof or less and stored in a charred oak barrel for at least 125. You will not guess who came up with this genius idea. It’s Elijah Craig himself. After setting the barrels on fire, he discovered the magic, creating a smoky and caramelly fine-tasting bourbon. However, some experts believe the preacher accidentally came across the barrels and decided it was time to store his booze in them. Whatever the case, storing his liquor in these barrels marked the beginning of a unique tasting bourbon across Virginia.
3. His bourbon is corny
Elijah Craig’s small-batch mainly consists of 78% corn and 10-12% rye and malted barley. Surprisingly, the US federal law permits bourbon makers to ensure their products only have 51% corn. Bourbon with a higher percentage of corn has a sweet taste and soft texture. But when it comes to age (8-10 years or so), its lactones disappear.
4. His single barrel is the oldest in the market
Elijah Craig should be smiling in his grave because his single barrel is more than two decades old. The rationale behind the aging of the single barrel is the economic aspect. With age comes the loss of two-thirds per barrel. The remainder is a rich dash of vanilla and leathery oaks with a smoky mint and caramel.
5. Elijah’s “small batch” isn’t literal
We assume that the first thing you thought of when you heard of “small batch” is small. As literal as it may sound, the small-batch isn’t small. The “small batch” terminology came from Jim Beam, the distiller Booker Noe. Averagely, small-batch whiskies are manufactured from 10 barrels or less. Ironically, Craig’s small-batch comes from approximately 200 barrels, making it one of the most selective and famous whiskies in the US and worldwide.
6. Elijah Craig got his most significant break in 2017
2017 marked the year when Elijah Craig bagged the “Whiskey Advocate’s Whiskey of the Year” award, thanks to its Barrel Proof B517. As the name suggests, the barrel was released in May 2017. Bourbon-tasting professionals and editors couldn’t hide their excitement when the barrel oozed robust flavors with a smoky and minty caramel appearance. To be termed barrel-proof, the whiskey wasn’t mixed with water to reach the ABV before bottling.
7. Elijah Craig wasn’t the founding father of bourbon
Born shy, Elijah Craig was naturally laid-back. Like most people, you may want to credit him as the father of bourbon when he’s not. In the real sense, he’s one of the brainchildren of bourbon, not the founding father. During his time, there were other bourbon inventors, so don’t mistake his name for being the founding father. Still, his name features among the list of bourbon-manufacturing geniuses of all time.
8. His distillery also specializes in other bourbon labels
If you thought Elijah’s Heaven Hill Distillery only produces the “small batch” version, you thought wrong. Like any other distillery facility, Heaven distillery also produces bourbon labels like the Rittenhouse Rye, Evan Williams, Old Fitzgerald, and Larceny. So, if you come across such labels, don’t shy away from buying them, thinking they come from a different distillery.
9. Elijah Craig’s products have a unique drinking age
Almost all bourbon brands come with a specific drinking age. Naturally, the drinking age for any wine or whisky lover is 18 years. Surprisingly, each batch of Craig’s barrel proof has a minimum drinking age of 12 years. According to GO BOURBON, his small batch’s legal age statement isn’t on the 94-proof version today. Some claim it’s on the left-hand side of the label. It’s up to you to buy and check it out.
10. His bourbon brand is made just for you
We all have something unique we look for in a drink to make us tick. So, if Elijah Craig Barrel Proof tops your list, you probably have discovered something unique, making it one of the tastiest bourbons on the market. So you know, this brand was released because drinkers’ trends shifted towards higher proof offerings. The discovery was made when people demanded more transparency and education. It will let you know that each barrel proof presents the opportunity to taste like a distiller. Each batch comes straight from the barrel and has been matured without filtering.
Elijah Craig might not be the primary inventor of bourbon, but his accidental invention of the small-batch cannot be ignored. The best way to enjoy this drink is through the company of friends. In addition, it isn’t that expensive as you can expect to pay around $75 for the 12-year. According to The Whiskey Shelf, whether you love it neat or on the rocks, this drink will be worth your time and money.
Written by Lily Wordsmith
Read more posts by Lily Wordsmith