Gateway rye at best. Great for newbies of rye but too light in character to recommend to anyone else
Notes: Heaven Hill is mostly noted for their extensive bourbon portfolio and this is covered below with links to a number of different reviews. This, however, is their rye which represents a new category for them.
Appearance: Clear copper/patinated bronze-colored showing a nice aging profile. On swirling, it leaves a thin to a medium coating on the glass and rapidly forms thin legs.
First Impression: Spanish cedar (think cigar box) caramel, vanilla, saddle soap, cinnamon, leather, Yenedjie tobacco, oak and alcohol blending nicely with a sort of persimmon finish to it
Taste: Pretty much matches the nose/bouquet but frankly is a bit muted compared a number of other ryes I could name.
Drinks: Speaking of which…. Recommend for mixing for the rye newbie as it will not scare them off.
Makes decent enough cocktails but a bit light in the rye spice department – which suits some just fine.
Bottle: Horseshoe shaped flask of clear glass reminiscent of the older style bottle which was thicker and shorter more of a horseshoe type. This one I would almost call tombstone. This Elijah Craig bottle has a more sloped neck, slightly elongated so you can get at least two fingers around it, with a thin old gold on green neck ribbon that says “RYE”. The front label is silkscreened on with 1789 embossed into the glass with a further small paper label that states “BARREL PROOF”, ” UNCUT STRAIGHT FOM THE BARREL” and the proof, alcohol by volume, and batch number. Side label is paper, cream and black with alternating print depending on background – and “94 PROOF , SPICY RYE PERFECTLY BALANCE with CORN for a DISTINCT SMOOTH TASTE”. Cap is standard Elijah Craig wood-topped stopper with Elijah Craig signature carved into the top with a natural cork and clear plastic neck capsule. Standard size neck opening that should fit a speed pour. As a sidebar, the older version had a much wider neck – which was great for pear in the bottle experiments afterwards – sad to see them go!
Other: Heaven Hill is a distillery with a relatively long history with quite a few bourbons a number of them dating back to the beginning of the company, but a number of exciting new bourbons and special editions of their older lines are generating a lot of interest (and new respect) in the bourbon community. Some of the most notable of the new series are the limited editions of the Parker Heritage Series (reviews of Number 7, Number 8, and Number 9 ) the new Larceny Bourbon (an extension/expression from the Old Fitzgerald line), The Barrel Proof Version of Larceny and The Bernheim Wheat Whisky
Their bourbons include of course the Heaven Hill series, the Elijah Craig 12 ( IMHO one of the perennial best buys in a bourbon) and the Elijah Craig 18-Year-Old. Some other lines of bourbons they produce are the Evan Williams line and the Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage series they have released every year ( 2000 Vintage, 2002 Vintage, 2003 Vintage, 2004 Vintage, and the New Make Series of unaged distillate (Rye and Corn), other previous and premium releases were the20-Year-Old and of the 21-Year-Old Version, 23 Year Old Elijah Craig versions.
Final Thoughts: More of a gateway rye than a full-on example of the style. While pleasant, it is remarkably neutral and, shall we say inoffensive? Great for beginners but a bit of a yawn for experienced drinkers of rye.
The main distillery website, it also has their plethora of other brands they either make of import also. A fairly informative site by industry standards, it does not have as much depth of information on their American Whiskies as the site below does – but offers a great overview of everything they are involved in.
Fast loading and easy to navigate. This one of the most comprehensive bourbon ( or any other spirit for that matter) website I have come across – and that is saying a lot! Extensive information and good pictures of how bourbon is made, the distillery, the bourbon heritage with reviews and ratings by different people and organizations of the different vintage years. Also the most extensive store of bourbon related gear and accessories in the industry.