Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch C923 Review

Batch C923 is the 33rd release of the Elijah Craig Barrel Proof series which made its first appearance in March of 2013. It is also the highest proof of the past 11 releases, clocking in at 133.0 proof. Beginning with batch B523, the brand dropped the standard 12-year age statement. Batch B523 was 11 years, 5 months old and people speculated that perhaps Heaven Hill was going to downgrade the age of the whiskeys used in their Elijah Craig Barrel Proof. Well, those speculations are false because Batch C923 is aged 13 years and 7 months. So, let’s grab a pour and begin this Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch C923 review.

Series: Annual Barrel Proof series, batch 3 of 3
Classification: Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Age: 13 years, 7 months
Proof: 133.0
Batch Designation: Small Batch
Proof Designation: Barrel Proof
Filtered Status: Non-Chill Filtered
Mash bill: 78% Corn, 12% Malted Barley, 10% Rye
Distillery: Elijah Craig Distillery Co. (Heaven Hill)
Company: Heaven Hill
Bottled By: Elijah Craig Distillery
Distilled/Aging Location: Bardstown, Kentucky
Release Date: September 2023
MSRP: $70
Aftermarket $: $99 – $199
Availability: Relatively Available

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch C923 review
Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch C923 Review

My tasting reviews are unique in that I include the notes of several well-known whiskey critics. The hope is that this format will help me and others to explore and expand their tasting experience. After you have taken your own tasting notes, read the reviews and see if there is a flavor note that others discerned that now you can detect as well.

For this tasting: Opened Bottle (at least 1 month), Glencairn Glass, Neat, Room Temp, Breathe: 5 minutes


Caramel, vanilla, fig, dark fruits, leather, luxardo cherry, burnt orange.

Other Reviewer’s Perceptions

Mash & Drum: Smells pretty fantastic. A ton of sweet oak, dark brown sugar, almost a burnt caramel, pecan pie, molasses, dense and sweet. A little medicinal cherry.

Whiskey Raiders: Bold caramel, cocoa, cherry cola, root beer, peanut brittle, rich oak and tons of sweetness. Rich and layered, plenty of oak in the best way. Whew.

The Bourbon Culture: The first note that smacks my nose is vanilla. This is actually a common experience I have with higher aged products from Heaven hill. Traditional ECBP notes like caramel, oak and toasted hazelnuts are available in droves. There is a wood varnish note that speaks to the age of the barrels that were used – nice! But the one note that sticks out that I typically don’t find in ECBP is this sort of berry compote scent that adds a new dimension from the typical “melted candy bar” experience I typically find.


Rich caramel, dark brown sugar, vanilla, chocolate, toffee, cinnamon, fig, leather, toasted barrel, old oak. Flavors are intense but well-balanced. It has a nice, silken viscosity.

Other Reviewer’s Perceptions

Mash & Drum: An onslaught of flavor. It is so good. It’s creamy, and it’s nowhere near as oaky as I thought it would be. Second sip and it gets really desserty. Heavy vanilla, heavy caramel. It’s like caramelized pecan cinnamon drizzled with a luxardo cherry syrup on top. Tons of oak and spice on the back end, some molasses. It drinks a little hot. It’s decadent but well-balanced.

Whiskey Raiders: Rich on the palate, viscous and powerful. Lots of cocoa, honey, toffee, red berries, cherry cola and a dash of caramel character. Impressive and varied, complex and layered. Tons going on. The proof, while the highest in a while, isn’t punchy or aggressive.

The Bourbon Culture: There are a lot of tannins on my tongue to pick apart and comprehend. Seasoned oak is a given, but I also find a good amount of barrel char and leather. The latter is a flavor that I don’t often get with Elijah Craig products. Sweetness comes from caramel and nougat while chocolate and vanilla add additional layers. Fruit notes once again surprise me because it’s something that I just don’t find a lot with Heaven Hill – there’s bits of cherries and blackberries which are really enjoyable. They are contrasted only by soft baking spices. There is still a decent amount of heat. The mouthfeel has a medium kind of viscosity.


Moderately long finish with caramel, cinnamon, vanilla.

Other Reviewer’s Perceptions

Mash & Drum: Long, lingering finish like a vanilla extract.

Whiskey Raiders: Long finish that’s heavy on sweet dessert, with toffee, caramel, cherry cola, a dash of root beer and heavy nutmeg, turtle candies and sweet oak.

The Bourbon Culture: A more simple finish than I was expecting on the palate. Notes of toffee and crème brûlée bring the sweets while cinnamon and oak spice smolder for a while. The fruit notes seem to have disappeared.

The Burn

5 out of 5. This means that the burn from the alcohol is a lot lower (10% to 20%) than what I would expect it to be for something that’s this high of a proof. I would guess this to be around 115 proof, not 133.0.

Add Drops of Water?

This is one pour that may benefit by adding a small amount of water. I added 6 drops (from an eye dropper) of distilled water to a 1 1/2 oz pour. It tamed the heat a little and made some of the flavors shine a little better.

Notes and History

Read the Elijah Craig bourbon history by following this link to my review of batch A123.

My Tasting Notes

A blank version of this tasting wheel is available to paid subscribers.

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch C923 review

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Vincenzo Barone
3 months ago

I always enjoy the Elijah Craig barrel proofs this seasons release is no exception, really well-rounded. Great review.

Matt Franceschina
2 months ago

As a beginner in the bourbon world… this is probably the best bourbon/rye I have tried so far. Took my palette by surprise at first but after I a couple sips, I have grown to love it.

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