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.