24 Jun 2014
Ezra Brooks 15 years
Tasting notes by Ruben Luyten - Posted in * USA
Ezra Brooks is a sour mash Kentucky straight bourbon. It was first produced in the 1950’s by the Medley distillery in Owensboro, Kentucky. The brand has been sold a number of times and today it is marketed by Luxco and distilled by Heaven Hill Distilleries (Elijah Craig, Evan Williams, Parkers Heritage, Bernheim Original, Georgia Moon, Rittenhouse…).A “rare old sippin’ whiskey” according to the label. While it was typically bottled at 90 proof, this one is an older version bottled in the 1970’s at 101 proof (50,5%).
Nowadays the brand has degraded a little, with a 12yo and a cinnamon flavoured version as the top expressions, but back then it was a premium bourbon.
Ezra Brooks 15 yo (101 proof, OB 1970’s, Italian import)
Nose: quite superb, almost a sherried bourbon. Dried prunes, figs, quite some coffee and milk chocolate… Baked apple and cinnamon sticks. Cigar leaves. Lots of nutty notes as well as waxed furniture. Mint, eucalyptus and pine resin (I think this cures a blocked nose). Verbena and other herbs. Excellent complexity. Very oaky but this is just great. Mouth: really herbal. At first there are still fruity notes (apple and plums) but they quickly make place for cardamom, mint, cinnamon and pepper. Some balsamic notes, then also gentian, heavy liquorice and a medicinal (cough syrup) theme. Bittersweet burnt caramel. Makes me think of the lovely Fernet Branca and other vermouth. Overinfused chamomile tea. Finish: long and dry, spicy oaky notes and a vague sweetness.
A lovely bourbon really. Dried fruits and big oaky notes, up to the point where it becomes medicinal. Rarely seen in auctions but one to watch. Thanks Johan.