Elijah Craig fans have a great reason to be excited about the new year: There’s a totally new rye whiskey in your future. Elijah Craig Rye is an affordably priced bottle of something we’ve never seen from Elijah Craig (or many other Heaven Hill brands) before: Kentucky-style rye whiskey.
According to Heaven Hill, Elijah Craig Rye has a mash bill of 51 percent rye, 35 percent corn, and 14 percent malted barley, which would be considered a fairly standard low-rye-content worldwide. Rye whiskey can be made with as much as 100 percent rye, though the common proportions put it closer to 51 (which gives it a flavor profile closer to a bourbon) and 95 percent (which tends to be far spicier, with more mint and floral flavors).
Adding rye to a bourbon brand’s portfolio has been a common trend for the last decade, as sales have exploded. Brands including Old Forester, Woodford Reserve, Jim Beam, Booker’s, and Angel’s Envy are all bourbon-first brands that have all come out with rye whiskeys. Even Jack Daniel’s, which could bear the label for bourbon by all legal definitions, released a rye in the last few years.
The Elijah Craig name is most often attributed to founding bourbon as we know it today. Craig founded a distillery in 1789, and he’s most often credited with the creation of the famous charred oak barrels that are now a legal requirement and give bourbon its distinctive flavors.
“Elijah Craig was a larger-than-life innovator and the new Elijah Craig Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey celebrates his bold reputation,” said Heaven Hill Master Distiller Conor O’Driscoll in a press release.
Elijah Craig Rye will only be available initially in Georgia, Oregon, and the Carolinas, starting in January 2020, with plans hopefully to scale up in the coming seasons. But that means 47 other states and a lot of drinkers are going to have to find some excuses for a weekend getaway if they want to stock up.
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