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Eagle Rare vs Elijah Craig Small Batch: Discover the Better!

Discover the differences between Eagle Rare vs Elijah Craig Small Batch in this head to head comparison and decide which Bourbon is better for You!

Eagle Rare 10 Year

NoseToasted oak, orange peel, maple syrup
PalateOak, dried fruit, vanilla, caramel, baking spice
FinishOak, tobacco, leather
Alcohol content90 proof (45% ABV)
How to drinkNeat
Similar toKnob Creek, Blanton’s, E.H. Taylor

The Eagle Rare is made at the Buffalo Trace Distillery using the same mash bill as the Buffalo Trace.

The difference lies in the aging as the Eagle Rare is aged for 10 years while the Buffalo Trace for 6.

Additional aging provides a dryer and oakier taste to the Eagle Rare making it feel like a grown-up iteration of the Buffalo Trace.

Nose kicks-off with toasted oak, followed by orange peel, red fruit and maple syrup.

On the palate, the Eagle Rare shows a creamy body as the texture feels buttery.

First sip is strong in oak, but as you let it develop vanilla, dried fruit, caramel and baking spice pop-up bringing good balance to the dram.

The finish is long, providing a bit of a bite, with more oak to it, along old leather and tobacco notes.

Adding water brings a bit more of caramel, tunes-down the finish, although it remains oaky.

Eagle Rare might not be the best bourbon for beginners as it’s a bit too oaky, but it has plenty to appreciate as it drinks quite nicely.

If this whisky were bottled at 100 proof it would be a killer but 90 suffices to deliver a nice drinking experience.

Definitely a keeper at MSRP ($50-$60) but not good enough to pay a crazy price for it!

I have compiled a list of alternatives to the Eagle Rare that should look into as it has become increasingly hard to find.

There are a few things worth knowing about Eagle Rare:

  • It ages for no less than 10 years in new, highly charred American oak barrels under the sun.
  • The barrels are hand-picked for quality and consistency before bottling.
  • The brand was launched in 1975 by Seagram, was later purchased by the Old Prentice Distillery and was acquired by Sazerac in 1989.

Elijah Craig Small Batch

NoseWood, chocolate, cinnamon, clove
PalateChocolate, wood, butterscotch, citrus
FinishOak spice, cinnamon, clove, black pepper, vanilla
Alcohol content94 proof (47% ABV)
How to drinkRocks, cocktails
Similar toWoodford Reserve, Four Roses, Knob Creek

Nose offers oak at first, followed by a hint of chocolate, cinnamon and clove.

On the palate, you get oak spice up-front, with a hint of bitter chocolate, butterscotch, vanilla and a tad of citrus.

The finish feels a bit warm as you get a hit of ethanol and a spicy bite rich in cinnamon, black pepper and clove with some butterscotch sweetness coming late to the party.

Elijah Craig has a nice nose, a good taste but it lets you down on the finish as it feels warm and spicy.

It becomes better when adding a drop of water as it becomes sweeter and loses some of the heat along the peppery bite.

Is not a bad bourbon by any means, barely making it to the sipper category but definitely needs more persistence than the average bourbon in this price range.

Learn more about this brand by reading my post: Discover the Best Elijah Craig Bourbon where I rank every bottle.

There are a few facts worth knowing about Elijah Craig:

  • Elijah Craig is credited as the first distiller to use heavily charred casks to age bourbon.
  • It is made from a mash bill comprised of 78% corn, 10% rye and 12% malted barley. 
  • It is bottled by blending no less than 200 casks of maturing bourbon, each of which was rested in a Kentucky rickhouse for a minimum of 8 years.
  • This whiskey previously had an age statement of 12 years but in 2016 the age statement was removed to extend its availability.
  • The distiller also increased the maximum number of barrels used per batch from 100 to 200.
  • Elijah Craig is produced by Heaven Hills Distilleries, a private, American family-owned and headquartered in Bardstown, Kentucky.

Eagle Rare vs Elijah Craig: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

Eagle Rare$47
Elijah Craig$34

Eagle Rare vs Elijah Craig: Which is better?

Eagle Rare is smoother than the Elijah Craig

WhiskeyEagle RareElijah Craig
  • Eagle Rare is not only better than Elijah Craig but is one of the best bourbons in it´s price range.
  • Eagle Rare is better balanced and complex with the right amount of warmth providing an entirely satisfying experience.
  • Elijah Craig is barely a sipper as it feels warm with some rough edges making me prefer the Eagle Rare.

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