Saturday, December 31, 2022

Clyde May's Special Reserve 6-Year Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes


The history of the Clyde May’s brand is rather tumultuous. It is named for Lewis Clyde May, a talented moonshiner from Alabama. He was a World War II Purple Heart and Bronze Star recipient while serving in the Army’s 77th Infantry Division. He was a peanut farmer. He was also caught and convicted for illegally making his shine.


In 1998, Clyde’s son Kenny started the Conecuh Ridge Distillery in Troy, Alabama. Because distilling in Alabama was still illegal, the whiskey was sourced by Kentucky Bourbon Distillers (more popularly known as Willett). In 2004, the Alabama Senate passed a resolution making Conecuh Ridge Fine Alabama Whiskey the official spirit of the state, which was curious since it was illegal to distill!  The governor vetoed the resolution, and the House and Senate overrode the veto. Soon after, Kenny was arrested for selling alcohol without a license, selling alcohol to a minor, and possessing an “excess” amount of alcohol in a dry county.


If that’s not crazy enough, Conecuh Ridge Distillery lost its license to sell Alabama’s Official Spirit in Alabama! 


A holding group then purchased the brand, reorganized it in 2014, and called it Conecuh Ridge Distillery, Inc.  In 2017, the brand announced it would build a new distillery in Troy, slated to open in early 2023.


Today I’m exploring Clyde May’s Special Reserve, a 6-year Straight Bourbon distilled by MGP/Ross & Squibb, although the mashbill is undisclosed. This Bourbon is non-chill filtered and packaged at 110°. It should run in the neighborhood of $60.00.


“In 1946, before there was a craft whiskey boom, Clyde May revolutionized the art of whiskey making by crafting a unique style of whiskey we refer to as Alabama style. Clyde discovered that by using dried apples in the aging process, it resulted in a whiskey of unparalleled smoothness and richness. The ultimate sipping whiskey.


Back in the day, Clyde May gifted this select stock of barrels as a sign of respect to his close friends and lucky locals. Today we pay homage to Clyde and offer you our Special Reserve Straight Bourbon.”Conecuh Brands


Sixty-some-odd dollars for 110° six-year MGP Bourbon seems reasonable; of course, that’s assuming it tastes good. The only way that can be determined is to pour a glass and #DrinkCurious. Conecuh Brands generously provided me a sample in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. Let’s get to it!


Appearance: A neat pour in my Glencairn glass revealed a liquid the color of burnt umber. A medium rim released slow, sticky tears.


Nose: I smelled brown sugar, corn, cinnamon, and cherries. Despite allowing it to rest for about 20 minutes, there was still a punch of ethanol. When I brought the air into my mouth, molasses coated my tongue.


Palate: In contrast with the nose, there was no ethanol blast on my palate. An extremely oily mouthfeel introduced vanilla and caramel on the front. Raisin, black currant, and dark chocolate flavors were at the middle, while charred oak, cinnamon, and clove formed the back. 


Finish: I encountered a long, spicy finish of dark chocolate, cinnamon spice, clove, and barrel char. There was a kiss of caramel before everything fell off.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  Clyde May’s Special Reserve is a Bourbon that drinks at its stated proof, if not a smidge higher. The spice notes became bolder as I continued to sip, and if I tasted this blind, I would swear to you that it was an American Rye. Overall, this whiskey doesn’t offer something to differentiate itself from other high-rye Bourbons. Is it priced reasonably? Yes. But it hasn’t crossed the threshold to a Bottle rating, so I recommend you try this one at a Bar first. Cheers!


My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It


Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.


Friday, December 30, 2022

Pursuit United "The Oak Collection" Review and Tasting Notes

There are whiskey purists out there. There’s nothing in the world wrong with that; it is what floats their boat. The brown water enthusiasts I’m talking about want their Bourbons and American Ryes aged in new, charred oak vessels and have the chips fall where they may.


However, in my opinion, when you erect barriers and refuse to venture beyond them, you miss out on a lot. Blenders, distillers, and independent bottlers are doing some mind-blowing things with Bourbon and Rye. Many of those involve barrel finishing.


The purist might argue that all a finishing barrel does is allow you to salvage bad whiskey. I don't see it this way. Sure, some brands out there are stuck with sub-par barrels and want to recoup their investment. But talented blenders and distillers find ways to take great whiskey and make it even better.


Wait. Back that truck up a moment. What’s barrel finishing? Simply put, it is taking a mature whiskey, dumping it, and then placing it in a different barrel for additional aging. That further aging can range from a few weeks to even years. Also, the sky is the limit to what you can use in barrel finishing. Some brands will use virgin oak (charred or otherwise). Others will use vintage wine, whiskey, tequila, honey, coffee, beer, and even things like Tobasco sauce! The point is that the second barrel imparts its characteristics on the whiskey inside it.


The Scots have been doing this forever. They commonly use former Bourbon barrels, as American distilleries had many of them they couldn’t reuse. Sherry butts and port pipes are also reused for finishing purposes.


But, in the United States, we have purists. They have their reasons, and while I don’t embrace them, I understand.


Today I’m reviewing two selections from Pursuit United. The brand was formed by Kenny Coleman and Ryan Cecil of the well-known and respected podcast called Bourbon Pursuit. In 2018, they began a company called Pursuit Spirits, which sourced Straight Bourbons and Ryes to create its blends. I’ve reviewed their first and second releases.


The Oak Collection is the third release. It consists of a Bourbon and Rye. The Oak Collection is billed “[a]n ongoing series of curated whiskey blends and barrel finishes that provide an exploration of taste and constant innovation.


Before I get to the reviews of each, let’s group their shared commonalities. Both whiskeys have limited distribution to Illinois (exclusive to Binny’s), Kentucky, Missouri, New Mexico, Tennessee (Knoxville only), Texas, and online from Seelbachs. A 750ml bottle of either has a suggested retail price of $74.99. Both are packaged at 54% ABV (108°). Neither offers an age statement.


Finally, I thank Pursuit Spirits for providing me with samples of each in exchange for my no-strings-attached, honest reviews. Let’s #DrinkCurious and get on with it.


Straight Bourbon Finished with Toasted American and French Oak

When sampling a Bourbon and Rye on the same flight, I’ll almost always sip the Bourbon first. In theory, flavors tend to be more mellow, whereas Ryes tend to offer a bolder experience.


This Bourbon is a blend of three mashbills from three distilleries:

  • A Tennessee distillery that is not George Dickel
    • 80% corn
    • 10% rye
    • 10% malted barley


  • Finger Lakes Distilling
    • 70% corn
    • 20% rye
    • 10% cherry smoked barley


  • Ross & Squibb (formerly MGP)
    • 60% corn
    • 35% rye
    • 4% malted barley


Appearance: Poured neat in my Glencairn glass, the Bourbon was a bright orange amber. A thin rim created straight, narrow legs that crashed back into the pool of liquid sunshine.


Nose: I encountered an aroma of orange zest, caramel, milk chocolate, and hazelnuts. As I drew the air past my lips, orange citrus filled my mouth.


Palate: The front of my palate tasted dark chocolate, hazelnut, and cherry, while the middle found caramel, vanilla, and cola. The back offered clove, French oak, and barrel char. The mouthfeel was tingly with a medium body.


Finish: If you relish Energizer Bunny finishes, this Bourbon will make you smile. It went on for several minutes, allowing the tingling, clove, char, and cola to remain.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: The tingling was a distraction, making me wonder how this is only 108°. In an unusual move, I added two drops of distilled water to my glass to see if that would tame it. When I did that, the nose exploded with caramel notes, the texture became creamy, and the palate remained the same. Weirdly, the water seemed only to increase the sizzle. I can’t get past it. You’ll want to try this one at a Bar before you commit to a purchase.




Straight Rye Finished with Sherry French Revere Oak

The Rye is made from three mashbills from two distilleries:

  • Bardstown Bourbon Company
    • 95% rye
    • 5% malted barley


  • Sagamore Spirit #1
    • 95% rye
    • 5% malted barley


  • Sagamore Spirit #2
    • 52% rye
    • 43% corn
    • 5% malted barley


Appearance: Again, I sampled this neat from my Glencairn glass. It appeared coppery-orange and formed a medium-weight rim. The tears were watery and fell faster than I could keep track.


Nose: Coconut, papaya, starfruit, and berry formed the aroma, and when I pulled the vapor into my mouth, I discovered more toasted coconut.


Palate: The oily mouthfeel introduced me to berry, cherry, and plum flavors. Those weren’t surprising, considering the sherry influence. Midway through, I tasted brown sugar and chocolate. The back featured rye spice, black pepper, and oak.


Finish: An artificial cherry flavor, much like Nyquil, covered almost everything. There was cocoa powder, black pepper, and rye spice.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: Cherry cough syrup is not something I find often, but it also isn’t something I enjoy. I returned to this a second day, and it was still there. That’s a show-stopper for me. I gave it a third chance, this time with two drops of water. That Nyquil sensation didn’t go away. As much as I don’t want to do it, I have to rate this one a Bust.



My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It


Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.



Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Two Souls Spirits 8-Year Wisconsin Rum Cask Finished Rye Whiskey Review & Tasting Notes


Something that makes me happy is how independent bottling is finally catching on in the United States. Independent bottlers have been around Europe, particularly Scotland, for what seems to be forever. But, in this country, there appears to be a stigma.


Some people are confused by the terms independent bottling and sourcing. That’s understandable, too, since the lines can easily blur. Independent bottlers will typically not only disclose but prominently display who the distiller is on the label. The goal can be to acquire an off-profile barrel or to do something special with the barrel that the distillery would not normally do, such as an unusual finish. Or, the distillery may usually send its stocks off to be blended with others, whereas the independent bottler will sell that single barrel for whiskey enthusiasts to try.


On the other hand, sourcing usually results in a non-distilling producer (NDP) buying stocks from different distilleries and branding them as its own. Some are more transparent than others, and nothing (unless you get into bottled-in-bond spirits) states you must disclose who did the distilling. Sourcing is also done by blenders, who take barrels from several distilleries to create something new. Talented blenders can do magical things with whiskeys.


Two Souls Spirits is one of the few American independent bottlers around. Founded in 2021 by James Estrada and Chad Civetti, it currently partners with Yahara Bay Distillers of Wisconsin, Watershed Distillery of Ohio, and Finger Lakes Distillery of New York. Two Souls Spirits is located in Davie, Florida. 


“Our mission is to hand-select exceptional spirits from craft distilleries that are reflective of the region where they are created. We are committed to providing full transparency and sharing our partner’s stories and products with a national audience. 

Our goal is to be the go-to curator of American craft spirits for discerning consumers seeking distinctive, meticulously crafted distilled products.” – Two Souls Spirits


Two Souls Spirits has released its 2022 Winter Collection. One of those whiskeys is an 8-Year Wisconsin Rum Cask Finished Rye sourced from Yahara Bay Distillers, the oldest distillery in the state. Two Souls Spirits selected Barrel #44, a mash of 95% rye/5% malted barley, and placed it in new, #3 charred oak barrels at an entry proof of 120°. After eight years, it was then transferred to rum casks for three months, and when finally dumped, it weighed in at a hazmat proof of 146.96°. Incidentally, it may be the highest-proofed whiskey I’ve reviewed yet! It is non-chill filtered, and there are 158 750ml bottles available. You can expect to pay $118.99 on Two Souls’ website.  Two Souls Spirits ships to 44 states around the country.


How’s this heavy hitter taste? The only way to know for sure is to #DrinkCurious. Before I get there, I must thank Two Souls Spirits for providing me with a sample in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review.


Appearance: Poured neat in my Glencairn glass, this Rye presented as a light amber. With this proof, I would have assumed it to be darker. Try as I might, I could not get a rim to form on the wall of the glass. It kept collapsing into a wavy curtain.


Nose: Amazingly absent was any alcohol blast when I brought the glass to my schnozz. Instead, I smelled toasted oak, brown sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. As I pulled the air through my lips, vanilla mint was evident.


Palate: The oily texture sizzled on my tongue. Cinnamon and rye spices combined with vanilla cream were on the front of my palate. As it moved back, candied orange peel, molasses, and sugar plums took over. Ginger spice, dry oak, and nutmeg rounded the back.


Finish: Unexpectedly, the finish was relatively short. How does something that carries this much punch (at least on paper) not stick around? Ginger, rye, and cinnamon spices were accompanied by sugar plum and molasses, which provided me the sensation of eating a good fruitcake.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: This Wisconsin Rye Whiskey drank below its stated proof. It was an attention-getter as it was, but I’ve had stuff far bolder. The experience was the opposite of what I anticipated, proving the #DrinkCurious lifestyle is well worth living. I’m pondering the value statement here. Sipping it was a nifty journey, but I’m not convinced it is worth the $119.00 investment. Because of that, it earns my Bar rating.


On a side note, this is the best whiskey I’ve tasted out of Yahara Bay Distillers. Cheers!


My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It


Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.

Monday, December 26, 2022

Devils River Agave Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes


One of the things I appreciate about distilleries is when they’re persistent. I’ve reviewed a few whiskeys from Devils River Distillery out of San Antonio, Texas. Let’s say that, to date, everything has wound up in the Bust category.


With my most recent review of Devils River Barrel Strength Bourbon, the distillery reached out to me and commented as follows:


“We have plenty of awards and fans but it’s still disappointing when we don’t meet up to someone’s expectations. Thanks for the feedback, would like to send you a sample pack of all our expressions to try, maybe our Rye or Coffee is for you. Cheers.”


Naturally, I accepted the offer; that’s the whole #DrinkCurious philosophy. A short time later, I received some whiskeys in the mail. One of those was Devils River Agave Bourbon.


Agave Bourbon? What sorcery is this? Agave is a plant that’s the base of tequila and mezcal. Agave is also a sweetener, similar in nature (and often interchangeable) with honey. In the case of Devils River’s whiskey, it has used unfiltered 100% Blue Weber agave sourced from Jalisco, Mexico.


The president and co-founder of Devils River is a self-taught distiller named Mike Cameron. Mike was also the co-founder of Rebecca Creek Distillery before launching Devils River in 2017. Devils River is a working distillery; however, it is unknown if what’s on the market today is its distillate or sourced. The label on the bottle suggests it was made in 2017, meaning it is sourced.


From my previous reviews, I know that Devils River was distilled from a mash of 75% corn, 21% rye, and 4% malted barley and sourced from Jus-Made/Southwest Bottling. The Devils River website states that agave is a “key ingredient” to the Agave Bourbon. What's that mean? I'm not sure. It could be a barrel finish; it could be a flavoring. Someone at the TTB signed off on it.


Agave Bourbon is packaged at 40% ABV (80°), and a 750ml bottle retails for around $28.99, making it an affordable option – if it tastes good. Before I get to that, I thank Devils Creek for its persistence and for providing me with a sample in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review.


Appearance: Served neat in my Glencairn glass, Agave Bourbon presented as the color of light caramel. A thicker rim formed but immediately released a curtain of legs that crashed back into the pool.


Nose: A sweet aroma of honey, caramel, and milk chocolate blended with toasted oak and ethanol, suggesting that while it carries no age statement, it is likely on the younger side. When I pulled the air through my lips, that unmistakable taste of sweet agave syrup rolled across my tongue.


Palate: I discovered a thin and oily mouthfeel. The first thing I experienced was very sweet agave and vanilla sugar cookies. As the liquid moved to the middle of my palate, I found caramel and berry fruit, and at the back, it was sweet tobacco leaf, oak, and black pepper.


Finish: At first, the finish seemed medium-short in duration. However, subsequent sips extended that significantly. Clove, charred oak, black pepper, and sweet agave competed for attention.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: I will say this much; this is the best thing I’ve had out of Devils River Distillery. I must admit I enjoyed what I sipped. If this is the same distillate as the flagship Bourbon, then the agave has drastically changed it. The Agave Bourbon is different from any other Bourbon I’ve had; it does not taste like a flavored whiskey or finished in an agave barrel. For the $28.99 investment, I congratulate Devils River Distillery on its first Bottle rating from me. It is well-deserved. Cheers!


Epilogue: I have also been provided with the Coffee Bourbon and Distillers Select Straight Bourbon, both of which will be reviewed later.


My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It


Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.


Friday, December 23, 2022

The Clover Single Barrel Straight Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes

A four-leaf clover has (obviously) four leaves. Each leaf is said to hold four different meanings:  Hope, faith, love, and luck.  To Bobby Jones, those four words were his life.


Born on St. Patrick's Day in 1901, Jones was one of the world's premier golfers. He was the only one ever to win the original grand slam. He was a scholar who obtained degrees in English from Harvard and Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech and was admitted to law school at Emory University.


Jones was a war hero. When presented with a ceremonial command during World War II, he declined and volunteered to battle at Normandy Beach as an infantry captain.


Bobby Jones set the standard of what an athlete should be. Ethics were important to him, so much so that he lost a golf tournament by a single stroke because he noticed he earned a penalty when none was assigned. He made such an impression that Emory has the Jones Program in Ethics. In 1955, the USGA created the Bob Jones Award to recognize outstanding sportspeople in golf who emulate his spirit, personal quality, and attitude. Jones passed away in 1971 from syringomyelia.


"Golf is the closest game to the game we call life. You get bad breaks from good shots; you get good breaks from bad shots - but you have to play the ball where it lies." - Bobby Jones


The Clover brand was founded to sustain the legacy of golf's most remarkable gentleman and champion. There are three expressions under the umbrella of The Bobby Jones Whiskey Collection: Straight Bourbon, Straight Rye, and Straight Tennessee Whisky. All three are single barrels and can be purchased from various golf course gift shops, online retailers, and better liquor stores.


A portion of the sales of each bottle is donated to the Chiari and Syringomelia Foundation. Chiari is a disorder where the back of the skull is too small for the brain, causing many involuntary things we do, such as balancing, breathing, and swallowing, to become interrupted. Syringomelia is when a cavity forms in the spinal column and then becomes blocked by spinal fluids.


Today I'm reviewing the Straight Bourbon.  It is bottled by Piedmont Distillers (the creators of Midnight Moon) but was distilled in Indiana (while not disclosed, it is likely MGP/Squibb & Ross). The barrel number is CBN-F-021. As it carries no age statement, we can infer it spent at least four years in new, charred oak barrels before bottling at 92°. You can expect to pay about $50.00 for a 750ml package.


I thank The Clover for providing me with a sample of its Bourbon in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. Now, let’s #DrinkCurious and taste what this one is all about.


Appearance: A neat pour in my Glencairn glass revealed a bright amber liquid. A microthin rim yielded quick, thick tears.


Nose: A sweet aroma of honey, nutmeg, berry, vanilla, and toasted almond teased my olfactory sense. Bold vanilla caressed my tongue as I drew the air into my mouth.


Palate: An oily texture greeted my palate. The front featured notes of lemon and orange citruses and honeycomb. Midway through, I tasted corn, caramel, and brown sugar, while toasted oak, cinnamon, and black pepper created the back.


Finish: The Clover Straight Bourbon drank higher than its stated 92°, leaving some heat and spice in my mouth and throat. It managed to make my hard palate tingle. Cinnamon spice and black pepper rolled in and out while caramel poked through. Overall, it had a medium-to-long duration.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: The Clover is uncomplicated and unpretentious. It is a well-balanced Bourbon, providing sweet and spicy notes that are sure to please. I like that some of the proceeds benefit a medical charity. Considering the $50.00 investment, you get your money’s worth and will feel good about the purchase, and that’s why I’m giving it a Bottle rating. Cheers!


My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It


Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.


Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Old Forester Extra Extra Old Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes

Old Forester created its 117 Series in the Spring of 2021. It was the brainchild of former Master Taster Jackie Zykan and was meant to highlight what could be done with existing stocks. The newest incarnation, code-named Batch 003, is officially called 1910 Extra Extra Old.


"This expression was born from a creative and innovative experiment while staying true to the classic taste which sets Old Forester apart. Although I only joined Old Forester last month, this was one of the first new limited expressions I was honored to taste – and the extra long double barreling leads to an explosion of flavors.” – Melissa Rift, Old Forester Master Taster


If the 1910 Old Fine Whisky moniker seems familiar, it is the final entry of the Whiskey Row Series from Old Forester. It is also the base of this experiment. That whiskey… um… whisky is made from a mash of 72% corn, 18% rye, and 10% malted barley. It was meant to commemorate the October 22, 1910 distillery fire that shut down production.


1910 Old Fine Whisky carries no age statement. It was double-matured in toasted, extremely-charred barrels for an undisclosed period meant to mimic the fire. Extra Extra Old extended that second maturation for a full two years. Like 1910 Old Fine Whisky, Extra Extra Old is bottled at 93°.


Extra Extra Old is a distillery-only Bourbon that was released on December 13th. Its availability may be extremely limited if there’s even anything left. You can check Old Forester’s online store. A 375ml bottle retailed for $59.99.


What did this accomplish? The only way to answer that is to #DrinkCurious. Before I get there, I must thank Old Forester for providing me with a sample in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. Let’s get to it!


Appearance: A neat pour in my Glencairn glass revealed one of the darkest whiskeys I’ve come across yet. The deep mahogany color was inviting and piqued my interest. A fuller rim created slow, thick tears that fell back into the pool.


Nose: I suspected oak would dominate the nose, but I was wrong. Instead, dark-roasted coffee, cherry, plum, chocolate, and toasted coconut were all easy to pluck from the air. As I inhaled through my lips, the coffee became more pronounced.


Palate: The oily mouthfeel featured dark-roasted coffee, cherry, and plum on the front of my palate. Midway through, I tasted toffee, tobacco, and coconut, while the back offered the first embrace of oak with barrel char and dark chocolate.


Finish: The finish initially was medium-short in duration; however, when I sat back and concentrated, there was a ghosting effect. Flavors of roasted coffee, dark chocolate, oak, and tobacco coated my throat.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: I was not expecting the finish to be as short as it was. With the extra aging, I (wrongfully) assumed there would be wood tannins that would go on for days. The coffee notes on both the nose and palate offered no bitterness. The fruity notes were refreshing and melded well with the savory and spice experience. While it may have been interesting to taste this at a higher proof, the 93° provided enough flavor to make me happy. Take into account the affordability factor, and Extra Extra Old is a winner, easily snagging my Bottle rating. Cheers!


My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It


Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.



Monday, December 19, 2022

Old Ezra 7-Year Rye Whiskey Review & Tasting Notes

Ezra Brooks has been around since 1957 when it was created by Frank Silverman and distilled at Hoffman Distilling Company. The brand stuck around for just over 20 years before Hoffman was shuttered. Then, in 1993, the David Sherman Company purchased the rights to the brand and resurrected it. If you’ve not heard of the David Sherman Company, that’s okay. You probably know it better when, in 2006, it became Luxco. In 2015, Luxco broke ground and created its Lux Row Distillers. Then, in 2021, Luxco merged with MGP to become MGP’s customer-facing operation (with MGP’s Indiana distillery renamed Ross & Squibb).


But who was Ezra Brooks? I’ve tried in past years to determine if there was ever a person behind the name. I learned there was no such person, at least not associated with the brand. However, it is catchy and easy to remember, and any marketer will tell you that’s gold.


Ezra Brooks released a 7-year-old Bourbon a few years ago, and it was a hit. It is still being produced, but getting your hands on it at a reasonable price can be challenging. Shockingly, even though it is in my whiskey library and I’ve had it, I can’t find evidence that I’ve ever reviewed it – that will change.


However, today I’m not trying Old Ezra 7 Bourbon; instead, it is the Rye.


Old Ezra 7-Year Rye was built from two classic MGP mashes; a 95% rye/5% malted barley and a 51% rye/45% corn/4% malted barley. It was subjected to charcoal filtering and bottled at 57% (114°). There are 3000 six-pack cases on the market, which retail at about $79.99 for a 750ml package. This whiskey started showing up on store shelves in November.


“With Old Ezra 7-Year Straight Rye Whiskey, we’ve delivered a rye worthy of the Old Ezra label. This tasty 7-year-old rye offers slightly sweet and oaky tones with hints of vanilla and honey, and it finishes with a warm touch of spice and tobacco. It’s certain to become a favorite among both rye fans and fans of the Ezra Brooks brand family.”John Rempe, Lux Row Distillers Master Distiller


While that sounds lovely, my job is to tell you how it tastes; the only way that happens is when I #DrinkCurious. But first, I must thank Lux Row Distillers for providing me with a sample of this Rye in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. Let’s get to it.


Appearance: A neat pour in my Glencairn glass showed off a deep, dark, burnt umber liquid that formed the thinnest of rims. A curtain crashed down, leaving that rim behind.


Nose: An aroma of Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal greeted my nostrils. There was also a touch of honey and plum with a punch of charred oak. Inhaling through my open lips brought toasted oak.


Palate:  An oily texture coated and warmed my tongue. The very first taste (the one I tell people to ignore) was like chewing on a wood stave. After the second sip, the front of my palate experienced a blast of thick, heavy caramel, vanilla, and plum. Mid-palate offered nutmeg, tobacco leaf, and dark chocolate, while the back featured leather, charred oak, and cherry.


Finish:  A long, lingering finish had flavors of dark chocolate, barrel char, tobacco leaf, leather, and cherry.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: Because there was no indication of alcohol burn, Old Ezra 7 Rye is one of those sneaky whiskeys, tucked in the shadows snickering and waiting with a 2x4 in hand to wallop you upside the head the moment you try to stand. Old Ezra 7 Rye went down way too easy; much closer to a 90-proofer. I was too busy savoring the flavors to pay mind to much else.


Old Ezra 7 is an excellent whiskey that you need in your collection. Frankly, I find the $79.99 price to be more than fair; if this were about $10.00 higher, I’d still classify this as a Bottle purchase. It is a lovely pour, I can’t say enough good things about it, and I know you’ll enjoy it, too. Cheers!


My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It


Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.