Elijah Craig (bourbon)

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Elijah Craig
Elijah CRAIG.jpg
A bottle of Elijah Craig
Type Bourbon whiskey
Manufacturer Heaven Hill
Country of origin Kentucky, United States
Alcohol by volume 47.00%
Proof (US) 94
Related products Heaven Hill

Elijah Craig is a premium brand of bourbon whiskey produced by the Heaven Hill Distillery company. The company is headquartered in Bardstown, Kentucky, and its distillery (called the Heaven Hill Bernheim distillery) is in Louisville, Kentucky. The brand is sold as a straight bourbon. It is sold in glass 750ml bottles, and the Small Batch bourbon is also available in glass 1.75L bottles.

Elijah Craig whiskey is made in both "Small Batch" and 18-year-old "Single Barrel" bottlings. The 18 Year Old Single Barrel Bourbon was touted as "The oldest Single Barrel Bourbon in the world at 18 years . . ." made in oak barrels that are "hand selected by Parker and Craig Beam," losing nearly 2/3 of the barrels' contents in Angel's share.[1] 21-year and 23-year single barrel have also been released, but only in very limited quantities. The barrels are later sold to the Scotch Whisky industry or used by microbrewers for making Bourbon Barrel aged beer such as Goose Island Brewery's "Bourbon County" Imperial Stout (see Brewing methods).[2][3]


The bourbon brand was named in honor of Reverend Elijah Craig (1738/1743 – May 18, 1808), who was a Baptist preacher, born in Virginia, who became an educator and entrepreneur in the area of Virginia that later became the state of Kentucky. The Heaven Hill company dubiously[4] credits him with the invention of "true Kentucky Bourbon" by improving the locally made distillate from an un-aged corn liquor to the familiar reddish drink through barrel-aging in charred oak casks.[1] Today, Elijah Craig is most widely known in association with this brand of bourbon produced by the Heaven Hill distillery.

Elijah Craig 18 year-old Super-Premium Bourbon


In approximately 1789, Craig founded a distillery. About a century later, the Rev. Craig was dubiously[4] claimed to have been the inventor of Bourbon whiskey by being the first to age the distillation in charred oak casks, "a process that gives the bourbon its reddish color and unique taste."[5] The Heaven Hill company uses this claim in its advertising of their product.[1]

Bourbon whiskey derives its name from the general area originally established as Bourbon County, which was originally established as the name of a county in Virginia, in honor of the French royal House of Bourbon family.[4] The naming was a gesture of gratitude, as France had assisted the colonial rebellion in the U.S. revolutionary war against Great Britain. Although the borders and naming of the counties in the area shifted over time, Rev. Craig's distillery site has never actually been in a county named Bourbon County.[4] When founded, the distillery was in the nearby territory of the original Fayette County of Virginia, which had been named in honor of the noted Revolutionary War Gen. Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de La Fayette (who was a member of the House of Bourbon).[4] Later government actions would name the area as Woodford County in 1788, and then as Scott County in 1792. The area became part of Kentucky when the state was created from part of Virginia in 1792.

As American whiskey authority Charles Kendrick Cowdery has observed, "By the time Bourbon County was formed in 1785, there were dozens if not hundreds of small farmer-distillers making whiskey throughout the region… Ultimately, most of the corn-based whiskey made west of the Alleghenies was called 'bourbon', to distinguish it from the rye-based whiskies that predominated in the East."[4]


Elijah Craig is currently offered in five varieties. In some countries, the 12-year-old base brand is sold in a cardboard box with a tag around the neck of the bottle. In most countries, the 18, 20 and 21 are sold in a hard canister with a leather bag.

  • Elijah Craig Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon (94 proof)
  • Elijah Craig 12 Year Old Barrel Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon (around 130-135 proof, varies by batch)
  • Elijah Craig 18 Year Old Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon (90 proof)
  • Elijah Craig 20 Year Old Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon (90 proof)
  • Elijah Craig 21 Year Old Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon (90 proof)
  • Elijah Craig 23 Year Old Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon (90 proof)

Barrel proof releases[edit]


Release No. Proof  % ABV
1 134.2 67.1
2 137 68.5
3 133.2 66.6
4 132.4 66.2
5 134.8 67.4
6 140.2 70.1
7 128 64
8 139.8 69.9
9 135.6 67.8
10 138.8 69.4
11 139.4 69.7

Awards and reviews[edit]

In the San Francisco World Spirits Competition of 2010, the 18-year-old Elijah Craig Single Barrel Bourbon was awarded Best Bourbon and a Double Gold Medal rating. In previous years, it had received a Double Gold Medal rating in 2008, a Gold Medal rating in 2004, and four silver ratings in other years (2003, 2005, 2006, and 2007).

Food critic Morgan Murphy said "Apple and caramel on the nose and a peppery rye finish at the back of the throat makes this autumnal brew a game-day winner every time."[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Brands, Elijah Craig". Elijah Craig Small Batch brand page, Heaven Hill Distilleries. Retrieved March 8, 2011. 
  2. ^ Bourbon County Imperial Stout web site.
  3. ^ "The Northern Brewer Homebrew Forum • View topic - Goose Island - Bourbon County Stout". northernbrewer.com. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f Cowdery, Charles K. (July 1996). "How Bourbon Whiskey Really Got Its Famous Name". The Bourbon Country Reader. 3 (1). Retrieved 2008-08-05. 
  5. ^ Kleber, John E., ed. (1992). The Kentucky encyclopedia. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky. p. 103. ISBN 978-0-8131-1772-0. 
  6. ^ Blake (September 24, 2015). "UPDATED: Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Release Cheat Sheet". Retrieved September 25, 2015. 
  7. ^ Murphy, Morgan; Editors of Southern Living magazine (2014). Southern Living Bourbon & Bacon: The Ultimate Guide to the South's Favorite Foods. Oxmoor House. ISBN 978-0848743161. 

External links[edit]