Ezra Brooks 90 Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is yet another of the “black label clone bourbons”. It is a sour mash that is aged in charred white oak barrels and then charcoal filtered. And at its price it comes in as a genuine budget pour.
You can find out more about Ezra Brooks 90 Proof at their website: ezrabrooks.com.
AGE: No age statement on bottle.
SERVED: Neat / Glencairn Glass
COLOR: Light golden amber.
NOSE: Corn and young alcohol start the nose and caramel comes in, but is overpowered by an astringent note that I don’t find very pleasant. Molasses and brown sugar come in, and then there is a faint smokey and touch of oak that peeks in as well.
PALATE: Mildly smooth; vanilla, caramel, and corn lead the way. Then a bit of spice and pepper come in. And it ends with mild oak bitters. There is also a bit smokiness to it.
FINISH: Nice heat, but not overly powerful. The heat lingers nicely though I wish it would last longer. The finish has sweet corn, vanilla, brown sugar, and a touch of oak bitters and a touch of smoke.
OVERVIEW: This is a sweet and unoffensive pour. It isn’t very complex but for the price I didn’t expect it. And in all honesty, from the nose and price I was not expecting it to be as good as it is. It is a suitable sipper when the budget is tight, and more than adequate mixer. I don’t care much for the nose, so that aspect of the pour is lacking for me, but the rest is fine. Again, you get what you pay for, but it isn’t crap either. Its 90 Proof gives it more of a footing than it would have without it. But it has it, so, I would not turn away a pour. And in my opinion, coming from a man who’s first choice in whiskey is not a bourbon, it speaks very well for this budget bourbon.
ADDED: With time, the nose turns more sweet with vanilla, maple syrup, and molasses. It becomes more tolerable.
As this bourbon oxidizes it truly becomes an enjoyable pour. Any oak bitterness that was first experienced almost goes away completely, leaving a sweet and smooth experience with just enough heat to remind you that you are drinking a bourbon. And for its price it becomes a must buy, and easy to keep stocked. Under-rated? Absolutely.