This has a huge, wonderful aroma of polished wood. The palate is candy-sweet with some nice pine and oak notes. The finish is rich and sweet. Water brings out caramel on the nose and some tobacco and spice on the palate.
It's been a long time since a new bourbon release really blew me away, but this one did. It's got huge wood notes balanced with candy sweetness, and with water, complex, spicy notes emerge. Tasting blind, I would have guessed that this was far older than its 12 years. A big win for Heaven Hill.
I read on your semi-professional blog that you said this was totally awesome bourbon. I think you are wrong. It's only just "great" bourbon. You know what's better? Its sister release at higher proof! That thing's an A- because it's sweeter and yummier. This, I thought lacked dimension and the candy-sweetness you lied about. Clearly, you are shilling for the Elijah Craig Distillery (or possibly Elijah himself), because... um... well you hate Brown-Forman for certain, and, um, you are WRONG WRONG WRONG the other one is better!!! Paint your palette in blue and gray. Look out on a summer's day. You are psychologically predisposed to hate whiskey.
n: vanilla bean, caramel covered popcorn ball. Red Hot™ candy cinnamon and rich wood; smells like freshly varnished wood heated in a kiln. Corn sweetness with turpentine fumes and soft evergreen.
t: initial is oak and a strong alcohol bite. The corn sweetness is nice and not over the top and the barrel selection shines. Quite hot in the initial drink, but the caramel flavours and kettle corn show nicely in the middle. This is a good bourbon, but nothing that would make this stand out of the high ABV crowd as something disinct or special. Hot alcohol bourbon for a reasonable price...