The Details

Rating 92
Style
American Whiskey
Whiskey
Produced In Kentucky
United States
ABV 65.3%
Availability Limited
Price $74.99 
Reviewed By
Review Updated 2024-06-12

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch B524 Review

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof is the thrice-yearly release that (mostly) keeps on giving. It’s one of Heaven Hill’s most popular premium products. Though the releases are technically limited, it remains one of those rare bourbons that’s still priced to appeal to both whiskey geeks and value shoppers. (Value here being a subjective intersection of proof, age, and price.)

This latest batch is aged for 11 years and two months, a step up from the January 2024 release. It’s also bottled at 130.6 proof, around 10 ticks higher than its immediate predecessor, and one of the highest-proof releases in the past few years.

A quick note on Elijah Craig codes:

  • The letter corresponds to the year’s release number; in this case, “B” means the year’s second release.
  • The numeral immediately after the letter refers to the release month; in this case, “5” corresponds to May.
  • The final two numerals correspond to the year; in this case, “24.”

As always, Elijah Craig Barrel Proof is distilled from a mash of 78 percent corn, 12 percent malted barley, and 10 percent rye. (A quick kudos to modern Heaven Hill for being up front with both their mashbills and cask types.)

Let’s dive in and see how the latest “ECBP” stacks up!

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch B524 review.

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch B524: Stats and Availability

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof is released three times a year, and for now, the suggested retail price remains around $75. Expect to see it for $5-$25 higher in some markets, though markups above that are generally reserved for the “chase” releases that exceed the formerly standard 12 year age statement. (The final release of 2023 was one such example, at over 13 years.)

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch B524 Review

As with all of VinePair’s whiskey reviews, this was tasted in a Glencairn glass and rested for at least five minutes.

Nose

Now that is some classic Elijah Craig, at least to start. Nosing considerably punchier than the year’s first batch (which clocked in at a relatively light 119 proof), B524 leads with leather, wet tobacco, burnt orange peel, and barrel char. This isn’t a particularly sweet nose, perhaps even less so than some recent batches, and it shows its age and oak influence quickly and forcefully even after a lengthy rest in the glass.

Note: It’s heavy enough on the ethanol to quickly numb the nostrils if you’re not careful, which warrants some measured breaks in between smells.

Each and every Elijah Craig Barrel Proof batch seems to have its quirks on the nose. C923 featured a pronounced cedar aroma. A124 had stronger vegetal notes than many other releases. And B524 has elements of each of those, to be sure, though the cedar is far more muted and the green vegetables dialed way back.

To my nose, one of B524’s big idiosyncrasies is the smell of fresh mint, which combines with dark cocoa to produce something akin to mint chocolate. Sweetness builds a bit more with time, more dark treacle than brown sugar or caramel. Overall, the nose here is powerful, bold, and cooling, though not quite in the upper tier of elegance some of these high-proof offerings can hit.

Taste

I found the nose a bit untamed, but the first tip is far more composed. Dark chocolate, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla bean, and cinnamon sugar quickly coat the tongue. Those sweet components are followed in rapid succession by black cherry, mulberry, and grapefruit peel, all of which bring some lovely tartness into the fray.

The mouthfeel is remarkably light without seeming thin. While the year’s first Elijah Craig Barrel Proof batch drank above its proof, this second bottling sips noticeably below the listed 65.3 percent ABV. That evenhandedness may let down some die-hard fans of the oakiest expressions, but a broader spectrum of flavors stand out because of it.

Those first few sips strike a quick and friendly balance, playing nicely together without either bogging down or drying out the tongue. Bourbon almost always gets high marks for showcasing its age without letting tannins bulldoze other sections of the flavor wheel. After a few minutes, it’s clear B524 is one such whiskey.

Back to the flavors at hand. Spice takes a necessary backseat as sweet and tart dance early on, but that rye influence is still perceptible, a little cinnamon candy building on the midpalate. That berry-forward tartness never quite goes away. Rye spice and black cherry are dominant toward the back palate, the early and complex sweetness devolving a bit into a thin honey syrup.

Finish

Overall, this is really good whiskey, including the finish. But Elijah Craig Barrel Proof has set its own standard in the industry at an intersection of flavor, age, and affordability. It’s just easy — perhaps too easy — to hold each batch against previous high water marks in the lineup.

Given that context, B524 hits a pretty good landing without absolutely crushing it. A nicely composed palate transitions to a finish that’s just a tad shorter than I would have liked, the wood-forward sweetness falling off a little early relative to the more tannic elements. That leads to the tiniest bit of dryness on the end. B524 is not one of those revered ECBP batches that stays with you for minutes after each sip, lingering long enough to make you question why you’d regularly drink much else. But it’s very good nonetheless.

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch B524 Rating

92/100

Recap

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch B524 slightly exceeds Batch A124. A return to bottling above 130 proof yields a fierce nose and plenty of heat on the tongue, though the overall palate experience is quite balanced. (Rest assured, it can still very much benefit from some water, so keep a dropper handy and dilute to your taste.)

While the finish isn’t a turnoff by any means, it never quite soars to the level of the very best ECBP releases. Of course, there are few standards in bourbon quite that high. If you happen across a bottle (especially at suggested retail pricing), open, share, and compare with previous batches. The variation here is half the fun.

*Image retrieved from Heaven Hill

92
POINTS
Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch B524
Elijah Craig Barrel Proof is the thrice-yearly release that (mostly) keeps on giving. It’s one of Heaven Hill’s most popular premium products. Though the releases are technically limited, it remains one of those rare bourbons that’s still priced to appeal to both whiskey geeks and value shoppers. (Value here being a subjective intersection of proof, age, and price.) This latest batch is aged for 11 years and two months, a step up from the January 2024 release. It’s also bottled at 130.6 proof, around 10 ticks higher than its immediate predecessor, and one of the highest-proof releases in the past few years. A quick note on Elijah Craig codes:
  • The letter corresponds to the year’s release number; in this case, “B” means the year’s second release.
  • The numeral immediately after the letter refers to the release month; in this case, “5” corresponds to May.
  • The final two numerals correspond to the year; in this case, “24.”
As always, Elijah Craig Barrel Proof is distilled from a mash of 78 percent corn, 12 percent malted barley, and 10 percent rye. (A quick kudos to modern Heaven Hill for being up front with both their mashbills and cask types.) Let’s dive in and see how the latest “ECBP” stacks up! Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch B524 review.

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch B524: Stats and Availability

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof is released three times a year, and for now, the suggested retail price remains around $75. Expect to see it for $5-$25 higher in some markets, though markups above that are generally reserved for the “chase” releases that exceed the formerly standard 12 year age statement. (The final release of 2023 was one such example, at over 13 years.)

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch B524 Review

As with all of VinePair’s whiskey reviews, this was tasted in a Glencairn glass and rested for at least five minutes.

Nose

Now that is some classic Elijah Craig, at least to start. Nosing considerably punchier than the year’s first batch (which clocked in at a relatively light 119 proof), B524 leads with leather, wet tobacco, burnt orange peel, and barrel char. This isn’t a particularly sweet nose, perhaps even less so than some recent batches, and it shows its age and oak influence quickly and forcefully even after a lengthy rest in the glass. Note: It’s heavy enough on the ethanol to quickly numb the nostrils if you’re not careful, which warrants some measured breaks in between smells. Each and every Elijah Craig Barrel Proof batch seems to have its quirks on the nose. C923 featured a pronounced cedar aroma. A124 had stronger vegetal notes than many other releases. And B524 has elements of each of those, to be sure, though the cedar is far more muted and the green vegetables dialed way back. To my nose, one of B524’s big idiosyncrasies is the smell of fresh mint, which combines with dark cocoa to produce something akin to mint chocolate. Sweetness builds a bit more with time, more dark treacle than brown sugar or caramel. Overall, the nose here is powerful, bold, and cooling, though not quite in the upper tier of elegance some of these high-proof offerings can hit.

Taste

I found the nose a bit untamed, but the first tip is far more composed. Dark chocolate, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla bean, and cinnamon sugar quickly coat the tongue. Those sweet components are followed in rapid succession by black cherry, mulberry, and grapefruit peel, all of which bring some lovely tartness into the fray. The mouthfeel is remarkably light without seeming thin. While the year’s first Elijah Craig Barrel Proof batch drank above its proof, this second bottling sips noticeably below the listed 65.3 percent ABV. That evenhandedness may let down some die-hard fans of the oakiest expressions, but a broader spectrum of flavors stand out because of it. Those first few sips strike a quick and friendly balance, playing nicely together without either bogging down or drying out the tongue. Bourbon almost always gets high marks for showcasing its age without letting tannins bulldoze other sections of the flavor wheel. After a few minutes, it’s clear B524 is one such whiskey. Back to the flavors at hand. Spice takes a necessary backseat as sweet and tart dance early on, but that rye influence is still perceptible, a little cinnamon candy building on the midpalate. That berry-forward tartness never quite goes away. Rye spice and black cherry are dominant toward the back palate, the early and complex sweetness devolving a bit into a thin honey syrup.

Finish

Overall, this is really good whiskey, including the finish. But Elijah Craig Barrel Proof has set its own standard in the industry at an intersection of flavor, age, and affordability. It’s just easy — perhaps too easy — to hold each batch against previous high water marks in the lineup. Given that context, B524 hits a pretty good landing without absolutely crushing it. A nicely composed palate transitions to a finish that’s just a tad shorter than I would have liked, the wood-forward sweetness falling off a little early relative to the more tannic elements. That leads to the tiniest bit of dryness on the end. B524 is not one of those revered ECBP batches that stays with you for minutes after each sip, lingering long enough to make you question why you’d regularly drink much else. But it’s very good nonetheless.

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch B524 Rating

92/100

Recap

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch B524 slightly exceeds Batch A124. A return to bottling above 130 proof yields a fierce nose and plenty of heat on the tongue, though the overall palate experience is quite balanced. (Rest assured, it can still very much benefit from some water, so keep a dropper handy and dilute to your taste.) While the finish isn’t a turnoff by any means, it never quite soars to the level of the very best ECBP releases. Of course, there are few standards in bourbon quite that high. If you happen across a bottle (especially at suggested retail pricing), open, share, and compare with previous batches. The variation here is half the fun. *Image retrieved from Heaven Hill

Reviewed On: 06-13-2024
92
POINTS
Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch B524
Elijah Craig Barrel Proof is the thrice-yearly release that (mostly) keeps on giving. It’s one of Heaven Hill’s most popular premium products. Though the releases are technically limited, it remains one of those rare bourbons that’s still priced to appeal to both whiskey geeks and value shoppers. (Value here being a subjective intersection of proof, age, and price.) This latest batch is aged for 11 years and two months, a step up from the January 2024 release. It’s also bottled at 130.6 proof, around 10 ticks higher than its immediate predecessor, and one of the highest-proof releases in the past few years. A quick note on Elijah Craig codes:
  • The letter corresponds to the year’s release number; in this case, “B” means the year’s second release.
  • The numeral immediately after the letter refers to the release month; in this case, “5” corresponds to May.
  • The final two numerals correspond to the year; in this case, “24.”
As always, Elijah Craig Barrel Proof is distilled from a mash of 78 percent corn, 12 percent malted barley, and 10 percent rye. (A quick kudos to modern Heaven Hill for being up front with both their mashbills and cask types.) Let’s dive in and see how the latest “ECBP” stacks up! Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch B524 review.

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch B524: Stats and Availability

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof is released three times a year, and for now, the suggested retail price remains around $75. Expect to see it for $5-$25 higher in some markets, though markups above that are generally reserved for the “chase” releases that exceed the formerly standard 12 year age statement. (The final release of 2023 was one such example, at over 13 years.)

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch B524 Review

As with all of VinePair’s whiskey reviews, this was tasted in a Glencairn glass and rested for at least five minutes.

Nose

Now that is some classic Elijah Craig, at least to start. Nosing considerably punchier than the year’s first batch (which clocked in at a relatively light 119 proof), B524 leads with leather, wet tobacco, burnt orange peel, and barrel char. This isn’t a particularly sweet nose, perhaps even less so than some recent batches, and it shows its age and oak influence quickly and forcefully even after a lengthy rest in the glass. Note: It’s heavy enough on the ethanol to quickly numb the nostrils if you’re not careful, which warrants some measured breaks in between smells. Each and every Elijah Craig Barrel Proof batch seems to have its quirks on the nose. C923 featured a pronounced cedar aroma. A124 had stronger vegetal notes than many other releases. And B524 has elements of each of those, to be sure, though the cedar is far more muted and the green vegetables dialed way back. To my nose, one of B524’s big idiosyncrasies is the smell of fresh mint, which combines with dark cocoa to produce something akin to mint chocolate. Sweetness builds a bit more with time, more dark treacle than brown sugar or caramel. Overall, the nose here is powerful, bold, and cooling, though not quite in the upper tier of elegance some of these high-proof offerings can hit.

Taste

I found the nose a bit untamed, but the first tip is far more composed. Dark chocolate, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla bean, and cinnamon sugar quickly coat the tongue. Those sweet components are followed in rapid succession by black cherry, mulberry, and grapefruit peel, all of which bring some lovely tartness into the fray. The mouthfeel is remarkably light without seeming thin. While the year’s first Elijah Craig Barrel Proof batch drank above its proof, this second bottling sips noticeably below the listed 65.3 percent ABV. That evenhandedness may let down some die-hard fans of the oakiest expressions, but a broader spectrum of flavors stand out because of it. Those first few sips strike a quick and friendly balance, playing nicely together without either bogging down or drying out the tongue. Bourbon almost always gets high marks for showcasing its age without letting tannins bulldoze other sections of the flavor wheel. After a few minutes, it’s clear B524 is one such whiskey. Back to the flavors at hand. Spice takes a necessary backseat as sweet and tart dance early on, but that rye influence is still perceptible, a little cinnamon candy building on the midpalate. That berry-forward tartness never quite goes away. Rye spice and black cherry are dominant toward the back palate, the early and complex sweetness devolving a bit into a thin honey syrup.

Finish

Overall, this is really good whiskey, including the finish. But Elijah Craig Barrel Proof has set its own standard in the industry at an intersection of flavor, age, and affordability. It’s just easy — perhaps too easy — to hold each batch against previous high water marks in the lineup. Given that context, B524 hits a pretty good landing without absolutely crushing it. A nicely composed palate transitions to a finish that’s just a tad shorter than I would have liked, the wood-forward sweetness falling off a little early relative to the more tannic elements. That leads to the tiniest bit of dryness on the end. B524 is not one of those revered ECBP batches that stays with you for minutes after each sip, lingering long enough to make you question why you’d regularly drink much else. But it’s very good nonetheless.

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch B524 Rating

92/100

Recap

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch B524 slightly exceeds Batch A124. A return to bottling above 130 proof yields a fierce nose and plenty of heat on the tongue, though the overall palate experience is quite balanced. (Rest assured, it can still very much benefit from some water, so keep a dropper handy and dilute to your taste.) While the finish isn’t a turnoff by any means, it never quite soars to the level of the very best ECBP releases. Of course, there are few standards in bourbon quite that high. If you happen across a bottle (especially at suggested retail pricing), open, share, and compare with previous batches. The variation here is half the fun. *Image retrieved from Heaven Hill

Reviewed On: 06-13-2024