Sunday, November 19, 2017

Old Ezra 101 Review

Old Ezra 7 year is a Kentucky Straight Bourbon released by Luxco. Though the front label says "DISTILLED & AGED IN KENTUCKY BY EZRA BROOKS DISTILLING LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY", don't believe that for one second since there was no Ezra Brooks distillery seven years ago. Most credible sources have this as being sourced from Heaven Hill and like many Heaven Hill bourbons this is also charcoal filtered. Due to some positive reviews I'd read and that it's likely age stated highish proof Heaven Hill bourbon at a low price, I figured it was worth a shot as potential good and cheap daily sipper. 
Before we get into the review though, a curious story. At some point during the few weeks I spent with this bottle, I happened to notice this verbiage on the back label.
Uh, wut? I do what any enraged whiskey nerd does and make a post in a whiskey group to the effect of can you believe this shit. Visceral rabbling immediately ensues more or less that the TTB is worthless and yeah that's definitely not a KY straight bourbon if coloring has been added, shame on the TTB and Luxco. But then someone asks about the TTB label so I start doing some digging. It took some time but eventually I deduced that there are a lot of flavored products that are put out under the Ezra Brooks line and the TTB label for this product doesn't match the one that's on the back of my bottle. Though I never found an exact match for the SKU, I came to the conclusion that somehow there was a bottling line mishap and one of Ezra Brook's other back labels like this one ended up on my bottle. 
Crisis averted, pitchforks lowered, bourbon can again be consumed at ease.
Aged 7 years; 50.5% ABV; $20
Nose: Rye menthol spice, decent amount of oak, about the level of caramel/vanilla sweets you'd expect for a 7 year old bourbon. 
Taste: Typical caramel/vanilla/honey sweets you get in a middle aged bourbon. It's rather forward on the sweets in the front and middle palate, much like creme brûlée. The finish has a good bit of rye spiciness that's inline with Heaven Hill's standard rye bourbon mash products. 
Thoughts: Pretty decent and above what I consider an average of something like Maker's Mark. Given the price, it's a good deal and that makes it a good candidate for a good daily driver. For day to day sipping, I think this is easy and pleasant to drink as it's a nice classic bourbon. Having said that, I don't know if it's as good as my current gold standard for a universally versatile daily bourbon which is Wild Turkey 101. This bottle is probably more refined than WT101 with a higher overall age but it's hard to for me to say this is better than the bold, spice forward profile that WT101 brings to the table even if it drinks a little younger.
Rating: C+ / B-
Note that price is not considered when assigning a rating.

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