ebook, was released at ages ranging from 15- to 20-years-old. The Van Winkle range is 10- to 23-years-old. Several of the Buffalo Trace Antiques are in the 15- to 18-year-old range. Many of the limited edition offerings from various producers have been north of 12-years-old. Through all of that, for the last decade or so, Heaven Hill's Elijah Craig 18-year-old has been the most readily-available very old bourbon on the market.
So it was sad for many when they learned of its demise. Now it seems the mourning may have been premature.
The official word from Heaven Hill is that they have "temporarily suspended bottling of the 18-year-old Elijah Craig Single Barrel." Special, limited (and expensive) bottlings of even older bourbon will fill the gap.
For instance, just 1,300 750ml bottles of a new 20-year-old (label pictured above) are being released, at a suggested retail of $130 per. Last year, an even more limited release derived from one barrel of the same juice was named Whiskey Advocate's "American Whiskey of the Year." Editor and Publisher John Hansell called it, "seamless, richly textured, and impeccably balanced." This new release represents the rest of that batch, about 80 barrels. The small yield is because 20 years of evaporation leaves most barrels less than half full.
They should be shipping now, so check with your whiskey monger right away if you're interested.
In lieu of the regular 18-year-old, Heaven Hill will offer various "extra-aged single barrel limited editions."
“With literally thousands of aging barrels over 10-years-old, we have a huge and one-of-a-kind resource to tap into,” noted Heaven Hill’s 7th generation Master Distiller Craig Beam. “We’ve carefully identified several hundred that are at middle to high storage in our best rickhouses, and these will be the source for these very special future Elijah Craig Single Barrel editions. These are some of the best older barrels of traditional rye-based Bourbon we have in our inventory.”
No one is predicting how long "temporarily" will in this case be. As with the recently suspended Wild Turkey 101 Rye, it seems likely that if and when the standard expression returns, it will bear a significantly higher price.