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Elijah Craig vs Woodford Reserve: Discover the Better!

Discover the differences between Elijah Craig vs Woodford Reserve in this in-depth comparison and decide which bourbon is better for You!

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 toBuffalo Trace, Knob Creek, Four Roses

Nose has 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 it feels boozy with a spicy bite rich in cinnamon, black pepper and clove with some butterscotch sweetness coming late to the party.

Elijah Craig has an alluring aroma, 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 Bottle where I rank every release.

There are a few facts worth knowing about Elijah Craig:

  • 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.
  • 95 points from the Wine Enthusiast.
  • Jim Murray, author of the Whisky Bible, named Elijah Craig the “Best Bourbon Aged 10-12 Years,”

Woodford Reserve

NoseMint, honey, vanilla, citrus
PalateSweet oak, cinnamon, mint, ripe fruit
FinishOak, caramel, baking spice
Alcohol content90 proof (45% ABV)
How to drinkNeat
Similar toMaker’s Mark, Buffalo Trace, Knob Creek

Woodford Reserve (Alternatives) is pleasant and subtle on the nose, with hints of wood, mint, vanilla and caramel.

Palate is sweet and spicy yet entirely smooth. Some oak up front, but in moderation, along cinnamon, mint, and a sweet fruity note.

The finish brings additional sweetness, along oak, and satisfying warmth that lingers.

The Woodford Bourbon is nicely balanced, body is creamy and does not have any off-putting or demanding notes.

It makes a great sipper due to its smoothness and is yet spicy due to rich cinnamon notes.

This is a sweet and mellow bourbon with the right level of heat that drinkers of all levels will appreciate alike.

Excellent everyday bourbon, smooth and clean, good both neat and on ice.

I find it somewhat weak to make great cocktails. I’d rather use the Woodford Rye that has many tasting notes in common but with additional rye in the mash making it more spicy and punchy.

  • Woodford’s mash is made from 72% corn, 18% rye and 10% barley; the rye content makes it a bit spicy.
  • This bourbon ages for 7 years in one of the few warehouses that uses heat cycling. This process involves cooling and heating the air to closely control the aging.
  • Earned gold and double gold medals at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2012, 2013 and 2014.
  • The brand belongs to Brown-Forman who also owns Jack Daniel’s, Herradura Tequila, Old Forester and a few other brands.

Elijah Craig vs Woodford Reserve:: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

Elijah Craig$34
Woodford Reserve$40

Elijah Craig vs Woodford Reserve: Which is better?

The Woodford Reserve is an easier drinker than the Elijah Craig

WhiskeyElijah CraigWoodford Reserve
  • The Elijah Craig is definitely more demanding as it feels somewhat warm while the Woodford Reserve is an easier bourbon.
  • The Woodford Reserve is quite tasty, though, yet nicely balanced, with the right amount of warmth making an entirely satisfying bourbon and a nice Everyday Whiskey!

Learn more about this brand by reading my post: Discover the Best Woodford Reserve where I rank every bottle.

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