Friday, June 3, 2011

(Review) Ezra Brooks Straight Kentucky Bourbon 90 proof

Mystique: 1-10 points
Score: 8
been around a while

Color: 1-10 points
Score: 9
dark amber, red tinge

Scent: 1-10 points
Score: 10
oakey, smoke, vanilla, floral

Initial Impression: 1-10 points
Score: 9

Mouthfeel: 1-10 points
Score: 8
slight oily

Taste: 1-10 x 4 points
Score: 36
little burn, pepper, vanilla, wood short aftertaste

Raw total Score: 80 points

Bonus: Value: 1-10 points
Score: 10
dollar more than Evan Williams and its better

Total Score: 90 points

Part of this endeavor was to get us trying new things and after assessing my bourbon consumption I realized I was stuck in a rut. I don't have unlimited funds and when I buy something new my money usually goes to whatever shiny bottle of Rye Whiskey I haven't tried yet. I have not tried many of the high end Bourbons and with the sort of renaissance that it's enjoying there are plenty. I decided to find a really decent one in the middle, a best bang for the buck. Could another mid price bourbon dethrone Evan Williams as my old stand by? I'd been aware of Ezra Brooks as my grandfather had a bottle of Old Ezra behind his bar that came in its own coffin. A little wooden box with a bottle in it. I remember looking looking at it when I was a kid and thinking why would you want to drink something that comes in its own coffin. I saw my grandfather drinking it one day and asked him. He said it wasn't a coffin, it was a treasure chest. He was right, but I was never able to find that particular treasure again after I became of legal drinking age. Lucky for me, I spotted regular Ezra Brooks bourbon hidden among all those black labeled square bottles on the shelf. Once again, note to bourbon makers GET SOME NEW BOTTLES AND LABEL DESIGNS. I wasn't sure what to think. It's was priced right and was new to me. That made it perfect to try. The color was very good, just a little red tinge to the amber and when I poured it in the glass I was surprised to smell all those different aromas out of such a reasonably priced bottle. Sipped neat I experienced a smooth, peppery burn with a vanilla and woody flavor that didn't stick around too long. Very pleasant for such a reasonable price. My bourbon of choice is Wild Turkey which is a little on the peppery side so this was similar in experience and suited to my taste. I tried it on the rocks, in an old fashioned and a mint julep. It was great. I think the higher proofing really brings out that extra flavor and adds a contrast between the flavors and the burn. I found out Ezra Brooks Bourbon is made for the owner by the Evan Williams people and that it might even start from the same mash ball. How the rest of it's birth differs I am not sure and was unable to find out. I am assuming it's aged a little longer to obtain the higher proofing. This was a great find for me. I like it a bit better than Evan Williams for everyday use and have made it my new house Bourbon at home. If you like Wild Turkey or Evan Williams I think you'll like this. At a very reasonable price I can safely say this is a best bang for the buck


  1. I agree. Ezra 90 is probably the best bourbon deal out there now. Ancient Ancient Age is ok too.

  2. My father always said a good bourbon should feel like a punch in the throat... meaning a little burn is good. Ezra Brooks has the right pepper and burn with a slightly bitter finish. definitely a glass full of flavor.

  3. In trying different bourbons, I came upon Ezra, as I have a store near me that carries a good bit of tenth (1/2 of a fifth, 375ml, yes, I'm an analytical geek) bottles. I purchased the Ezra, as it was only $7. I'm glad I did, as Ezra Brooks has become my "house bourbon". I like a little bit of "burn" in my bourbon, and Ezra's 90 proof is GREAT!!! (What can I say? I'm an old-fashioned drinker. I even buy STRONG ingredients for 1953-strength VESPERS. Look THAT cocktail up!!) Anyway....I can honestly say that Ezra Brooks bourbon is a GRAND value, and keeps my faith that high price does NOT always equal the BEST VALUE!!! Jack??!! Who the f___ is THAT?!

  4. The 90 Proof Ezra Brooks may be fine with mixers, but served neat the pepper flavor is just a bit over powering for my taste. For about the same money Evan Williams is much more enjoyable.

    1. Thank you - I was thinking: "Hmm, it has good qualities, but I'd like something with a little less peppery burn in the back of the throat" - it's different than an alcohol burn.

  5. I have tried EB before. I like it but it is not my old standby of AAA. I know they are discontinueing AAA but my local store still has it. Other stores are not carrying anymore. That said, i like the EB. I am not good at describing flavors in drinks..... unless i am drinking orange juice. I like the burn and the taste is good. May be my new house brand if AAA disappears completely