Whiskey You Can Drink: Ezra Brooks

Welcome to another round of Whiskey You Can Drink, wherein I drink whiskey and tell you about it. This time we take another trip to the bottom shelf, where we find Ezra Brooks, a bourbon whiskey weighing in at 90 proof. I paid about 12 bucks for this bottle on sale, which is why you can drink it.

Now, unlike Evan Williams and Elijah Craig and Jack Daniel, Ezra Brooks was not an actual person. This is a “copycat” whiskey with a made up name, marketed to take advantage of a shortage of Jack Daniel’s, which had been made overly popular by the so-called “Rat Pack” of the 1940’s-50’s. In other words, it doesn’t even pretend to have a bullshit backstory. It has literally the same mash bill as Evan Williams, at 78% corn, 12% barley, and 10% rye, and while it is charcoal-filtered, it does not meet the criteria of a “Tennessee whiskey” because said filtering happens between aging and bottling. I’ll bet you gave a fraction of a fuck about that technicality. But anyways…….

What’s it smell like? It’s a fucking $12 bottle. It smells like bourbon, as you might expect. It smells somewhat dusty, with a note of popsicle stick. That seems oddly specific, and if you gave me another day or two to think about it, I might come up with something smart-assed to say about that. Sorry. There is also the Cracker Jack scent characteristic of many bourbons, along with a cherry or two.

What’s it taste like? The first sip is kinda dull, then the second pops with the taste of maraschino cherries. It goes on like that throughout the pour, and indeed throughout the bottle. If pressed, I’d say there is also some apple cider, black pepper, and the obligatory cinnamon, with notes of oak.

Should you buy it? Hell yes, it’s better than Benchmark, and for 12 fucking dollars you should at least try it. I’d like it to be more consistent from one sip to the next, but I’m going to say that this is every bit as good as perennial bottom-shelf favorite Evan Williams.

Will I buy it again? Sure. My thought is I will be alternating this with Evan Williams, especially when the half-gallons of either bottle are on sale. Now that I think of it, I’d like to pour this together with Evan and see what happens.



  1. Now that I think of it, I’d like to pour this together with Evan and see what happens.

    I realize that would horrify people if you did that with $200 single malt scotch, but how common is that with a couple or three everyday whiskeys? It never occurred to me, but people must do their own home blends, right? It’s not like wine where you have to drink the bottle within a day or two of opening.

    • @bluedogcollar

      I don’t know how popular it is anymore, but for awhile the rage was to have an “infinity bottle,” where you poured the last couple of ounces of whatever bottles you were working on into a decanter or something.  I never tried it.

  2. I just special ordered some Riff to try, because of the description. Still no access in PA to BSB 103, although it is back on the market. Here is the Riff:

    The aroma is classic high-rye Bourbon with notes of caramel and baking spices with touches of vanilla and menthol. The palate is surprisingly complex with sweet vanilla and mint at first followed by glowing Rye spices from clove and cinnamon to black pepper and back again. The finish is long and rambling from pops of cinnamon to sweet after-burn.

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