Whiskey Review: Old Ezra Barrel Strength - The Whiskey Wash

Whiskey Review: Old Ezra Barrel Strength

Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by Luxco. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review.

The classic Ezra Brooks is a 90 proof bourbon whiskey and is available, usually for under $25.  It was originally produced in the 1950s by the Medley distillery.  Since then, it has been picked up by Luxco, a non-distiller producer, with this latest release being the big brother at barrel strength 117 proof and seven years of age.

I am a fan of barrel strength whiskeys of all varieties. Less water, more flavor. I was excited to get the opportunity to try this one out.  For those unfamiliar with this producer, their whiskey portfolio includes Rebel Yell, the Blood Oath series, David Nicholson, and Yellowstone brands.

Last year Luxco opened the doors to their very own distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky, so we’re curious to know what master distiller John Rempe comes up with in the new spot. Rempe graduated from St. Louis University with a bachelor’s degree in biology and has 20 years worth of distilling spirits.  He is noted with the re-vitalization of the Rebel Yell label as well as creating the premium Blood Oath series. Some may say he has a thing for whiskey.

One of the challenges of going for barrel strength tends to be in the balance. Too much heat, not hot enough? Was it aged long enough, or did the barrel get enough char? When you’re going for the high proof stuff, one hopes for that burst of flavor, followed by those complexities as the palate adjusts to the strength of what you’re tasting.  In any case, let’s get to it!

Old Ezra Barrel Strength

Old Ezra Barrel Strength (image via Kenji Mizumori/The Whiskey Wash)

Tasting Notes: Old Ezra Barrel Strength

Vital Stats: 58.5% ABV, 117 proof. Aged seven years, charcoal filtered. 750ml ~ $40

Appearance: Lght amber.  As for the bottle, it is embossed with the Ezra Brooks”EB” on the base and the Lux Row Distiller’s logo on the top of the label.

Nose:  Presence of brown sugar and oak, alcohol, with a hint of nuttiness.

Palate: Right off the bat, you get baking spices and vanilla followed by oak.  As it begins to finish, peppery notes and leather make an appearance.  This one has all of the classic bourbon elements going on.  And as a 117 proof whiskey, it is remarkable easy to drink.

The Takeaway

Getting to the nitty-gritty. Balanced or no? On it's own, can be a bit tight, leaving you wanting more depth. A couple drops of water, and you have a new tasting experience. All of the elements, from nose to palate become elongated and more pronounced. As a $40 bottle, barrel strength, and seven years, the Old Ezra comes through for a win.

User Rating 3.3 (30 votes)


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