Reviews #78-79: Elijah Craig Single Barrel Standoff: Moonshine vs Oak Liquor

Today my raffle prize Moonshine Elijah Craig pick came in and Oak Liquor Cabinet got their Elijah Craig pick in so I knew what I had to do! Oak was doing a tasting so I swung by JJs to get my Moonshine bottle and then headed to Oak with the Moonshine bottle to do a preliminary side by side there(this is what happens when my wife goes out of town btw) and finally settled in tonight to do a proper write up. Since my wife is gone I was not able to do this blind but it was a good chance to break in my new blue glencairns!

Elijah Craig Small Batch Oak Liquor Cabinet Pick

Age: 11 years

Abv: 94 proof

Color: A medium gold

Price: $34.99

Barrel: #5105190

Barreled: 2007

Warehouse: EE

Floor: 5

Neat

Nose: A subtler nose than the default expression or the Moonshine with baking spice, oak and vanilla notes with a hint of smokiness

Taste: Warm spice and sweet dark cherry notes dominate the taste with a bit smoke and oak in the background. Sweeter and spicier with less tannic oak the than regular expression and with a slightly improved mouthfeel. Definitely a step up.

Finish: A long finish that starts sweet and oak and then lingers with spice and oak

Elijah Craig Moonshine Pick

Age: 9 years

Abv: 94 proof

Color: A medium gold

Price: $39.99

Barrel: #5575836

Warehouse: S

Floor: 6

Neat

Nose: The richest nose of the three with brown sugar, vanilla, baking spice and smokey notes in a brilliant proportion.

Taste: Somewhat similar to the default expression but the oak is less bitter and the sweet and spice notes from the nose carry on into the taste. The smokey notes are still there but hiding in the background.

Finish: A bit short compared to the OLC pick but on par with the default with a nice balance of vanilla, oak and baking spices.

Conclusion

I stand by my notes from my original tasting of Elijah Craig Small Batch with the exception that I was able to pick up some smokey notes in it this time; I’d probably give it a 6 instead of a 7 these days though.

Overall the Moonshine pick had the best nose and was just like an upgraded version of the default expression. It’s a great bottle though it felt a little bad that it was more expensive than the OLC pick and I had to win a raffle to get it!

The Oak Liquor Cabinet pick brought in a nice dark cherry note that I quite enjoyed and had the best finish by far even if the nose was a little underwhelming compared to the other two.

For me the OLC pick was the winner but I can easily see someone with different tastes, ie less sweet tooth or fondness for cherry, preferring the Moonshine. I’ll be picking up a bunker bottle of the Oak and I’d be surprised if I didn’t order a dram or two of the Moonshine at brunch once I polish my bottle so that made picking the ratings easy!

I haven’t had the chance to try a dusty 12 year Elijah Craig to weigh in on how it compares to the new stuff or these picks but I’m out there looking for a sample or if possible a bottle to see how it stacks up. I’ll be sure to post an update :)

Elijah Craig Small Batch Oak Liquor Cabinet Pick

8 - an excellent bottle I’d be happy to buy

Elijah Craig Moonshine Pick

7 - a solid whiskey I’d happily order at bar if they don’t have something 8+

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Scale

My reviews are mostly about taste but occasionally take price into consideration generally dropping a point from whiskies in the 8-9 range that seem significantly more expensive than similar quality bottles.

10 - an all time favorite, must buy/hunt

9 - a favorite that I almost always have a bottle of on my shelf

8 - an excellent bottle I’d be happy to buy

7 - a solid whiskey I’d happily order at bar if they don’t have something 8+

6 - a decent whiskey that I don’t prefer but don’t avoid and would be fine having as a mixer or in a pinch somewhere with a poor selection

5 - I would drink it if offered and I didn’t have to pay for it

4 - Fine as a mixer, bring on the Coke Zero

3 - Maybe a mixer if I’m in pinch

2 - no thanks

1 - pouring out the bottle