Sunday, October 22, 2023

Ezra Brooks 99 Proof Straight Rye Whiskey

- $23
- 99 Proof
- 2 Years
- Kentucky

While I do enjoy picking up many of the nice bottles that I've been fortunate enough to try and review on this blog, I do still make an effort to buy whiskeys I've never tried. That's particularly the case when it comes to new labels hitting the market.  Especially those that go straight to the shelf and aren't allocated or limited or somehow treated as "special."

So, when I saw a new Ezra Brooks product in the rye section, it caught my eye as something I hadn't seen before. Of course, it has the obligatory green label that all ryes apparently must have. But otherwise it looks a lot like the Ezra Brooks bourbons, and I've had some decent bottles of that, at least with respect to store picks. So I decided to give this one a go, even if it is only 2 years and is MGP rye bottled for Lux Row.  At least the price was nice.

The nose came across as soft and subtle or delicate, rather than punchy like so many other ryes, particularly young ones. It had a light cinnamon note to it, but also a grain forward or cereal note to it. It was kind of like toasted Cheerios.  There was a light sweetness to it, but no discernable spiciness on the nose, which had me hoping for better on the palate.

When I took my first sip, the first thing I noticed was that it was surprisingly syrupy, both in flavor and texture. It had a distinct sweetness that leaned a bit towards maple syrup. However, it did have some spice to it, with a touch of clove and even a slight anise note. It had the sharp notes of youth to it, though, with something biting and offensive lingering in the background.

The sweetness seemed to start to take on more of a brown sugar note, reminding me of chocolate chip cookies, but without the chocolate chips. At times it was more of a molasses note, and it came across as a bit resinous, particularly with the hint of pine that came from the rye.

It was that piney, resiny, molasses note that seemed to linger. It wasn't very sweet nor was it very spicy on the finish, and this is really where this whiskey lost me. It really fell flat at the end, leaving me with the sense that perhaps I had licked the bottom of a boot rather than just finished a sip of whiskey.  I didn't have super high expectations with this one, but I don't think I'll be reaching out for it again, at least not until Lux Row and MGP put some age on it.

Grade: C-

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