Elijah Craig is a historic figure, but even an icon can undergo a freshening up once in a while. So, Heaven Hill Distillery, the maker of Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon, has just announced a major packaging redesign of its flagship spirit.
“At a time when the demand for bourbon is at record levels, we are renewing our commitment to crafting Elijah Craig Small Batch so we can have it more available for the market, rather than on allocation, inaccessibly priced or simply out of stock,” says Max L. Shapira, president of Heaven Hill Distillery.
Elijah Craig Small Batch is made from batches of 200 barrels or less of 8-year-old to 12-year-old Kentucky straight bourbon, with a large percent from the older barrels. While the packaging is new, its mashbill, proprietary yeast, proof, and aging regimen remain the same.
The newly designed bottle is taller and has cleaner lines. Using a custom-designed mold, 1789, the year the Rev. Elijah Craig founded his distillery, is embossed on the glass. In addition, the brand name and Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey directly decorate the bottle. A small textured paper label on the bottom of the bottle’s front includes Craig’s signature, as well as product information. Crowning the bottle is a cork closure stained dark brown.
“We are confident that through our stringent barrel selection process we will maintain the desired taste profile and quality that have made Elijah Craig Small Batch one of the most critically acclaimed Bourbons in the world,” says co-master distiller Denny Potter. “We can do this because barrels, no matter their age, mature at different rates that depend on their location in our natural open rick warehouses. We choose only those barrels that meet our exacting standards for complexity. They are the cream of the crop that annually account for about one-half of one percent of all of our aging stocks.”
Craig's place in American distilling history is mixed. Although many things are known about him -- her was a prominent Baptist preacher, paper mill owner, rope factory owner, founder of Georgetown, KY, school founder, etc.) when it comes to bourbon the opinions are mixed.
A few whiskey historians credit him with being the first to popularize Kentucky corn whiskey aged in charred oak barrels and calling it bourbon. Most, however, say that is apocryphal, and that such a practice was commonplace in the area in which he lived.