In this Ezra Brooks review, we’ll focus on the most common expressions from Luxco’s distillery on the Bourbon Trail. Firstly, you probably know that the Ezra Brooks brand offers a full line of products, right?
So, Ezra Brooks Bourbon, Old Ezra, and Ezra Brooks Rye are just a few. Basically, from a 25-proof Bourbon Cream Liqueur that rivals Irish Cream to over-proof barrel strength bottles, they have something to satisfy every kind of whiskey drinker.
The Ezra Brooks Origin Story
Frank Silverman started Ezra Brooks in 1957. Back then, he bottled out of the Hoffman Distilling Company. Bourbon fans may recognize the name since Hoffman Distilling was the original bottler of infamous Pappy Van Winkle. Silverman created the Ezra Brooks brand when Jack Daniels couldn’t meet the demand from whiskey drinkers. The original Ezra Brooks packaging bore more than a passing resemblance to Jack Daniels.
So, the brand went out of business in the ‘70s. But, in 1993, Luxco purchased the Ezra Brooks brand. Today, their Lux Row distillery in Kentucky bottles the bourbon. In fact, the brand has expanded to include five expressions, all with updated packaging.
Ezra Brooks Bourbon and Tennessee Whiskey
Basically, this bourbon whiskey tips its hat to Jack Daniels even today. In fact, Ezra Brooks uses charcoal filtering just like the Tennessee distillery. They ferment with a portion of the mash from the previous distillation, the same as Jack Daniels.
This process is commonly referred to as “sour mash.” Sour mash better controls bacteria during fermentation, creating a smoother product that doesn’t need as much time in the barrel to mellow.
Luxco advertises its sour mash bourbon as quality at a fair price. All in all, it delivers. There’s no age statement on the label. Since it’s labeled “Straight Bourbon Whiskey,” it’s spent two years in charred oak barrels — but probably not a day more.
Ezra Brooks Review – Straight Kentucky Bourbon
The following whiskey-focused accounts on Instagram frequently call it “bottom shelf.” It’s definitely at a low price point, but by no means bad, according to these reviewers.
Straight Kentucky Bourbon Review by @whiskeyinfidel
“The nose screams Tennessee Whiskey – a butterscotch bomb, with a heavier-than-usual vanilla note. Banana shows up… Warm on the tongue we’re met with a vanilla cream note. Medium length (finish), with cinnamon and orange creamsicle, followed by a slight rye and pepper remnant.” – @whiskeyinfidel
Straight Kentucky Bourbon Review by @thewhiskeyjug
“Definitely among my favorite ‘bottom shelf bourbons.’ Ezra Brooks Bourbon is a good standard bourbon. Nothing to hate on and nothing to celebrate about, either. It delivers a satisfactory bourbon experience and some days that’s all you need to make you happy.” – @thewhiskeyjug
Straight Kentucky Bourbon Review by @whiskey_fishin
For those days that “call for a no-hassle, ‘Bottom shelf’ easy sipper… If you haven’t had this yet I recommend it…it’s not breaking the bank and it’s rumored to be sourced from Heaven Hill as well. Cheers!” – @whiskey_fishin
Straight Kentucky Bourbon Review by @thewinesociety1874
“Delicious in the classic Kentucky style, Ezra Brooks Sour Mash Bourbon is full of baked apple, pear, honey and spice flavors. Stylish and smooth…that’s Ezra.” – @thewinesociety1874
Ezra Brooks Review – Old Ezra 7 Barrel Strength Bourbon
This Old Ezra label has an age statement of seven years. And the whiskey shows what time in a barrel can do when it starts with sour mash and a charcoal filtering. So, the barrel aging process adds complexity to the drink. And it tempers the fiery spirit of the bourbon.
Of course, at 58.5% ABV, this goody is well overproof. So, if you give it time in a whiskey glass to open up, it’ll become a sweet sipper that carries a Kentucky kick. Bourbon drinkers on Instagram are overwhelmingly excited about Old Ezra!
Old Ezra 7 Barrel Strength Bourbon Review by @barrelpickbros
“It’s like drinking candy with a little kick!!” – @barrelpickbros
Old Ezra 7 Barrel Strength Bourbon Review by @whiskeyconsensus
“One of the best value Barrel Proof bourbons!” – @whiskeyconsensus
Old Ezra 7 Barrel Strength Bourbon Review by @Whiskeyprojectatl
“Ezra Brooks 7 Year Barrel Strength has been around for a long time. And years ago when age statements were plentiful, it struggled for attention. It’s a high-proof, age-stated flavorful bourbon that brings you back to a time of quality bourbon. At a fair price, [it’s] capped off with an age statement.” – @Whiskeyprojectatl
Old Ezra 7 Barrel Strength Bourbon Review by @chicagowhiskeyguy
“Sweet vanilla and caramel off the bat followed by dark cherry, spice, and oak. The extra proof helps bring out the flavor and complexity. Good stuff!” – @chicagowhiskeyguy
Ezra Brooks Review – Straight Rye Whiskey
Made with just rye and barley, Ezra Brooks straight rye whiskey is a real rye lover’s delight. It comes in strong with classic rye notes. A great pick, at a lower price point.
When building rye cocktails with Ezra Brooks, the expected flavors shine through. Agreeable enough to sip on its own. But refined tasters may not find enough complexity to stay interested. These Instagram accounts explain.
Ezra Brooks Straight Rye Whiskey Review by @pallinispa
“The nose is sweet with notes of vanilla, hints of corn and spices. The palate is soft and sweet with notes of honey, maple syrup and vanilla with hints of wood and spices. A finish of short persistence, sweet and slightly spicy.” – @pallinispa
Ezra Brooks Straight Rye Whiskey Review by @bourbonwithasideofwhiskey
“A bit simple but enjoyable nonetheless. To me, the prominent tasting notes are juicy fruit gum, chocolate, and black pepper. I’d love to see what one additional year of aging could do to add just a bit more complexity. However, I still think this is an enjoyable whiskey that is worth trying.” – @bourbonwithasideofwhiskey
Ezra Brooks Straight Rye Whiskey Review by @bourbonstraightnochaser
“Pudding, caramel sauce, burnt wood, cereal, nutmeg, and ginger. The texture is money.” – @bourbonstraightnochaser
Ezra Brooks Straight Rye Whiskey Review by @thecasks
“Newish, surprisingly decent, inexpensive, young straight rye.” – @thecasks
Share Your Opinion with Us
Ezra Brooks is a reliable label and comes at an assortment of price points. Be sure to use a decanter to temper the less expensive (but fiery) young bourbon and rye. Finally, from Straight Bourbon Whiskey to Old 7-Year, their whiskey performs well in cocktails or as an easy sipper.
And, of course, young distillations will benefit from a little more time in a barrel. For that reason, we believe there’s a lot of complexity and smoothness to get excited about in the future, given the solid foundation. Which Ezra Brooks expression excites you the most?