The Lake Charles crew of Hokus Pokus picked an 8 year old Elijah Craig Private Barrel, weighing in at 135.6 proof; definitely on the super heavyweight side of proof.
Color is a nice amber that is about right for an eight year old cask strength bourbon. Very traditional bourbon notes on the nose with an emphasis on caramel. On the palate, heavy caramel and vanilla, some candied dark fruit, specifically raisins and cherries which are really lovely. Even though I am a proof hound, I have to admit the proof here is rather fiery. However, a few days exposed to the air, the fiery proof mellows a bit to a nice result. Mouthfeel is very luscious. Finish is rather long and lingering with the vanilla and caramel fading into drying oak. This is a delightful high proof bourbon.
I know that some folks have bemoaned Elijah Craig losing its twelve year old age statement, and some are unsure of barrel proof releases also being released at less than twelve years, which remains the standard for the standard release of barrel proof. However, for these barrel picks, they are pulling barrels which have reached their peak maturity, whatever their age. Any more years on this high proof barrel and the whiskey might become undrinkable without proofing it down. This barrel was pulled at the right time.