Robert Johnson is at the crossroads and there’s bourbon in my glass. Elijah Craig Small Batch, to be exact, and it’s delicious. Smooth and warming with lingering hints of vanilla and a rich oakiness, each sip puts me closer to witnessing the fateful deal with the devil that gave Johnson his gift. I’m not saying it’s a magical bourbon, but it’s pretty close, especially blended with a Bourbon Blues playlist on Spotify that features the likes of Johnson, Buddy Guy, Howlin Wolf, and many others.
Shelved beside the fantastical Johnson tale is another, just as absurd but no less rooted in Americana, about the whiskey’s namesake, Elijah Craig, and the birth of bourbon. The story goes that the Reverend Elijah Craig, a baptist preacher, accidentally charred some of his moonshining barrels one day and realized that the byproduct was delicious, thus inventing bourbon. There’s a lot of controversy surrounding this story, and most consider it nothing but a charming local legend blown out of proportion. Either way, we thank Craig for his contribution to booze culture. We know he’d be proud of the final product.