By April Manning
Ezra Brooks has seen many owner changes in its history before it landed in the hands of the David Sherman Corporation (DSC) of St. Louis, Missouri in 1993, and DSC itself later became Luxco, Inc.Like many other players in the modern bourbon game, Luxco is a Non-Distiller Producer (NDP). This means Luxco does not actually distill their whiskey, at least not until their proposed distillery in Bardstown starts production. They buy their whiskey from another source instead, and then bottle it under their name.
The whiskey provider in this case is Heaven Hill Distilleries, located principally in Bardstown, Kentucky. Heaven Hill is the largest independent, family-owned and -operated producer and marketer of distilled spirits in the country. They are the seventh largest spirits supplier in the United States, and second largest holder of aging bourbon whiskey in the world with an inventory in excess of 1,000,000 barrels.
Ezra B. is a single barrel, aged 12 years and bottled at 99 proof. This particular bottle was hand-bottled in October 2014 and came from barrel #578.
The best thing about this bourbon is what you get at face value: the deceivingly cool name and the extremely attractive bottle. They really pulled out all the stops to try and distract you from what is in the beautiful royal blue wax sealed bottle with the deep blue gold foil print label and ribbon wrapped around its neck.
With a beautiful deep copper color Ezra B. is has a sweeter nose than the Black Label Ezra Brooks. It gives off teasing aromatic hints of brown sugar and honey that do not appear in the taste. There is not the constant dominant burn that is present in the Black Label but there is a smoldering sensation along with a dry, smoky leather impression. An earthy oak flavor comes through mid-palette to improve the rating from a D- to a D.
This is not impressive bourbon, but just a 99 proof drink that will get you buzzed. As Raymond Chandler said, “There is no bad whiskey. There are only some whiskeys that aren’t as good as others.” Ezra B. falls into this category.
The bourbon falls into the $35 to $42.