Kentucky distillery Heaven Hill just released the first two barrel-proof editions of its popular Elijah Craig and Larceny bourbons. But save some room because there’s two more to come of each expression in the coming year, and these whiskeys pack a punch.
In a world awash with barrel-proof whiskey, and bourbon in particular, it’s good to find a few bottles that stand out. And while the very nature of releasing whiskey in batches means that the quality and proof will vary between releases, overall there is a consistency to these two Heaven Hill expressions that make them beloved by many whiskey fans.
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Larceny Barrel Proof in particular is an excellent and often looked entry into the world of cask-strength bourbon, and indeed whiskey overall. This is a wheated bourbon, meaning the mashbill contains wheat as a flavoring grain instead of rye. In the case of Larceny, this is a six to eight-year-old bourbon with a mashbill of 68 percent corn, 20 percent wheat and 12 percnet malted barley. That gives the whiskey a sweetness compared to its rye-forward counterparts—think of other wheaters like Maker’s Mark, Old Fitzgerald (also made by Heaven Hill), Wyoming Whiskey and, yes, a little bourbon you might have heard of called Pappy Van Winkle. Larceny Barrel Proof A123 (indicating the first release from January 2023) was bottled at 125.8 proof, a respectable but tolerable strength that brings a bit of heat to a caramel, plum, oak and vanilla-soaked palate. The second and third releases will launch in May and September respectively.
Elijah Craig Barrel Proof is the high-ABV version of one of Heaven Hill’s most popular bourbon brands. It bears the 12-year-old age statement that the main lineup used to carry (it’s now a blend of eight to 12-year-old bourbon), and this is the 11th year that this non-chill filtered whiskey has been released. ECBP A123 is made from the distillery’s bourbon mashbill of 78 percent corn, 12 percent malted barley and 10 percent rye, and was bottled at 125.6 proof. That’s pretty close to the strength of the Larceny, but that’s by chance and not by choice. And like that bourbon, the next two releases will drop in May and September.
The SRP for both of these whiskeys is $69.99, and you can usually find them for somewhere around that price online (these new expressions just launched, so what you find online now might still be from last year). Happy hunting, and always remember there’s no shame in adding a a few drops of water to your barrel-proof whiskey.
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