Review: Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch A120 (January 2020)
By now you know the drill: This is Elijah Craig’s latest release in the erratically-scheduled Barrel Proof bourbon series. The A120 batch number means it’s the first release of the year (A), and it came out in January (1) of 2020 (20). Contrast with A119. As always, it’s a 12 year old expression bottled at cask strength.
Spoiler alert: A120 is going to be one of the more coveted expressions in this collection. While some of the ECBP releases can sometimes be overwhelming on the wood front, A120 finds a unique sense of balance.
On the nose, there’s plenty of (at over 68% abv) heat here, but it masks a note of fresh-cut lumber that pairs deftly with spearmint, cherry pits, and smoky coal fire. It’s a blazer on the tongue, but incredibly expressive with counterbalancing notes of butterscotch and red pepper, raspberry and spice. Surprisingly approachable at full proof, water is a clear benefit, but only a couple of drops. This really brings out the fruity notes in the whiskey, along with a milk chocolate note that lingers on the finish. I had a hard time balancing the water here, as even a few drops too much will water the whiskey down too far.
All told, it’s arguably the best Barrel Proof release to date.