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Warming and deliciously rich, Elijah Craig 18 Year starts off incredibly strong. Orange, chocolate, toasted oak, honey, vanilla, and custard form an aroma that leaps from the glass. Its sweetness is perfectly tempered against hearty oak notes creating an amazingly balanced nose.
Equal amounts of vanilla and oak form the palate’s foundation, with light brown sugar, caramel, and a fruit salad-like pop of sweetness joining in. The oak remains throughout, but is kept in check thanks to the palate’s fruitier side. The result is a very likable medium-bodied palate that is a crowd-pleaser at heart.
Heavy oak pulls forward during the finish and quickly overtakes many of the palate’s fruitier flavors. There’s a dankness that lingers, and while it’s not overpowering, it is quite noticeable. It doesn’t completely derail the finish, but takes an excellent bourbon down a notch.