Single malt whisky - tasting notes

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 yearsEzra 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.

Score: 90/100

Ezra Brooks 15 years 4 Ruben Luyten 2014-06-24
  • Johan Van Samang

    You’re welcome. Although I didn’t remember you got a sample :-)
    Glad you liked it, loved
    it too.

  • texascarl

    Luxco has a big presence in my local market, for many years this was a ‘best buy’ bourbon for us. I miss it!

  • Dave

    This was the first premium bourbon I ever tried. My senior year in high school. When my friends were drinking malt liquor, or Mad Dog, I was sipping Ezra Brooks, and Sandeman vintage port.

  • robertbrittonjr

    I have an old ezra brooks 15 year sippin whiskey, 101 proof, still in it’s box. It was given to my dad by a friend over 30 years ago. Trying to find out what it’s worth, and where to sell it. thoughts?

  • WhiskyNotes has an archive of auction values.

  • Rob

    I picked up a bottle of the Ezra Brooks 15yo in Japan a few weeks ago. 101 proof. Bottle looks same as picture above. So maybe they still make it? Packaging is definitely new.

  • greg fogle

    Did you ever find a value on this. I have the same story. My Dad just gave it to me. Don’t know to cherish it, drink it or sell it.

  • robertbrittonjr

    I got rid of it. I didn’t sell it high enough, but frankly it didn’t matter. I would never drink it. FInd a local whiskey specialty bar and offer it up to them. Old Ezra was a good not great brand. but still worth a bit today for 30 year old aged bourbon.

  • lucky_jim

    Is it a rough-textured wooden box with leather hinges? Our stories are similar: given to my Dad around 1960-70, unopened still, wondering about value, etc.



November 2015
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Coming up

  • Amrut 2009 (cask #2701)
  • Glenlivet 1981 (#9468 for TWE)
  • Lagavulin Distillers Edition (2015)
  • Talisker Distillers Edition (2015)
  • Laphroaig 32 Year Old
  • Glen Grant 65yo 1950 cask #2747 for Wealth Solutions
  • Mortlach 1959/1960 (G&M Royal Wedding)

1933 notes by Ruben

WhiskyNotes - Ruben LuytenThis blog is my personal collection of impressions, written while searching for the ultimate single malt whisky.