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Review: Elijah Craig Old Fashioned Kit

Editor’s Note: This product was provided to us as a review sample by Elijah Craig. This in no case, by our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the purchase link at the bottom of this review, our site receives a small sponsorship payment which helps support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.

Named for the 19th century Baptist preacher who is (doubtfully) credited with “the invention of bourbon”, The Elijah Craig range of whiskeys from Heaven Hill Distillery is probably a staple at your local liquor store. End of October 2021, was busy at Heaven Hill. In the middle of Old fashioned week celebrations, an agreement in principle was hit between workers and management to resolve a six-week strike.

The old-fashioned week’s festivities included a raffle promotion to win a home bar kit containing the accessories needed to produce amateur cocktails: an attractive crystal mixing glass, a long-handled bar spoon swirl design, a Julep strainer and a comfortable promotional stopper. The kit also includes a bottle of Elijah Craig’s Old Fashioned Cocktail Syrup (more on that in a moment) and a copy of Robert Simonson’s Syrup. The old fashion. Mixology isn’t my strongest subject, but I thoroughly enjoyed this 158-page compendium of traditions, documented history and, especially for me, recipes for the venerable cocktail, so much so that I was looking forward to try to make some.

The barware provided in the kit is nice and self-explanatory for hobbyists like me, with a mixing container large enough to make shareable amounts of Old Fashioned. For my first attempts, I followed the directions on the syrup mix bottle to make a quality, balanced cocktail showcasing the foundational whiskey. Results from other tests using scratch ingredients without the aid of pre-mixed syrup produced mixed results when I determined the correct balance of ingredients and learned how bitter the bitters I purchased were. My pride in DIY experimentation doesn’t stop me from praising the cocktail syrup which allows those of us with limited bass chops to produce a solid libation – the best drink I’ve made was a mix completely on-label for Elijah Craig and cocktail syrup with a sprig of rosemary added.

the Elijah Craig Small Batch Straight Bourbon which forms the backbone of these cocktails is produced from a paste of 78% maize incorporating 12% barley and 10% rye. A limited number of casks selected by master distillers are blended to create the final product. Age statements were removed from the Small Batch label in 2016 to expand inventory as demand for this popular bourbon exceeded supply. Here is a set of pocket tasting notes for bourbon on its own, outside of the Old Fashioned context:

Elijah Craig Small Batch Straight Bourbon & Old Fashioned Kit (image via Jacob Wirt)

Tasting Notes: Elijah Craig Small Batch Straight Bourbon

Vital Stats: 94 proof. No age statement. Sells for around $30.

Appearance: Reddish gold with a medium light body

Nose: Pleasantly sweet on the nose. The high balance of corn in the mash is evident with aromas of maraschino cherry, vanilla and light spice

Palace: The vanilla picks up where the sweetness of the nose left off, quickly giving way to a warmer, minty and woody warmth.