Ezra Brooks 99 Port Wine Cask Finish Bourbon Review


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 it’s worth its weight in gold.


In 1957, the brand was created by Frank Silverman and distilled at Hoffman Distilling Company. It died off in 1977, but as what seems to happen more often than not, the David Sherman Company purchased the rights to the brand and resurrected it in 1993. In 2006, the company was renamed Luxco. In 2015, Luxco built its own distillery in Bardstown called Lux Row Distillers and then merged with MGP in 2021 to become its customer-facing operation (with MGP’s Indiana distillery renamed Ross & Squibb.


Ezra Brooks is known for its charcoal-filtered whiskeys, and today, we’re exploring its latest release, Ezra Brooks 99 Port Wine Cask Finish. It begins with a mashbill of 78% corn, 10% rye, and 12% malted barley. After maturation, it was transferred to port casks sourced from Portugal to rest for another six months.


“We created Ezra Brooks 99 Port Wine Cask Finish for bourbon fans looking for an elevated taste profile and unique flavor option. Lux Row Master Distiller John Rempe was intrigued by the juxtaposition of ryed bourbon’s spicy flavor profile and the sweeter, dark fruit notes often found in port wines.” -  Eric Winter, Ezra Brooks Brand Manager


Rempe suggested that this release is the first annual release of special finishes for Ezra Brooks 99. If you’re curious what the 99 represents, that’s the 49.5% ABV (99°). Ezra Brooks 99 Port Wine Cask Finish has a suggested price of $34.99 for a 750ml package.


Before I #DrinkCurious, I must thank Lux Row Distillers for providing me with a sample of this Bourbon in exchange for my no-strings-attached, honest review.


Appearance: I poured this whiskey into my Glencairn glass, intending to sip it neat. Honestly, I expected a reddish hue, which never materialized. Instead, it was the color of caramel. The liquid formed a thin rim, producing tiny droplets that fell back into the pool.


Nose: The aroma was more in line with what I pictured a port-finished whiskey possessed. I encountered chocolate, vanilla, and leather. As I continued to explore, I found cherries and nutmeg. When I pulled that air through my lips, it consisted of freshly shredded tobacco.


Palate: Ezra Brooks’ texture was thin and oily. I immediately tasted oak, tobacco, and cocoa. Once it drifted to my mid-palate, there were plums, figs, and a hint of ginger. Flavors of leather, nutmeg, and hazelnuts were on the back.  


Finish: The medium-to-long duration featured tobacco, charred oak, cocoa, leather, nutmeg, and ginger spice, with the ginger holding out to the very end.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: At $34.99, Ezra Brooks Port Wine Cask Finish is affordable for the masses and shouldn’t be challenging to obtain. Whereas many port-finished whiskeys include plenty of chocolate, plums, and pepper, this Bourbon drifts around the corner, skidding across the plum and rubbing the others. What could have been chocolate was instead cocoa, as was pepper to ginger. Nevertheless, it is an enjoyable pour – one you’ll be happy to have in your home bar and my whiskey library. It secures 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 to do so responsibly.