Old Ezra Brooks Barrel Strength Review

by Colonel Steve Akley


My good friends at Luxco (not sure if I have ever mentioned this, but, like me, they are St. Louis-based), sent over a bottle of the new Old Ezra Brooks, 7-year-old age stated, Barrel Strength Bourbon. It’s a great label and a cool bottle with raised “Lux Row Distillers” across the top.

Luxco’s distillery, Lux Row Distillers is located in Bardstown, Kentucky (the company is in a transitional time where they are currently distilling but their products remained sourced as their new make ages in warehouses in Bardstown).

This offering comes in at 117 proof and has a suggested retail price of under $40. The Ezra Brooks line tends to be one you can find in a decent-sized liquor store and their offerings tend to always fall in the “value category” in that they always tend to hit the crossroads of price and quality in the perfect spot.

Knowing that I am an Ezra Brooks fan, further compounded by being more than a “bit of a homer” in that I love “all things St. Louis,” I thought it might be best to turn this one over to my club: The St. Louis Bourbon Drinkers.

Now, you may be thinking, “Wait, you are taking yourself out of the mix here, but, you are now turning your review over to more people from St. Louis.”

True, but…

This crew isn’t like me. They don’t pay favoritism for anybody. In fact, they love to put you in your place if you show up liking something and tell you why it’s not good. With this in mind, I brought out my brand new bottle, uncorked it at our meeting Saturday night and stated, “I’d like to share this with anyone who wants some, you just have to give me your honest critique as to what you think about it.”

I then put the bottle on the bar, ready to pour.

The slab of granite that is the bar at my buddy Paul Cassimatis’ house is a veritable “who’s who” of amazing bourbon: 60s Old Forester, 50s IW Harper, a bottle of the 2018 Yellowstone LE honey barrel, Willett Family Reserve, Elmer T. Lee, 2018 Parker’s Heritage, Elijah Craig Hazmat… and it goes on-and-on. Basically, everything you could imagine as everyone brings a bottle, or two (or three) of the good stuff and puts in on the bar for anyone to enjoy (except for Alejandro, who always forgets and leaves his in a gym bag on the floor so he gets credit for bringing something without anyone actually cracking into his bottle. FYI, he had a bottle of the New Riff Bottled-in-Bond tucked away on the floor Saturday night).

As soon as Old Ezra hit the bar, the Glencairns started getting shoved in my face. Alejandro was actually the first to weigh-in… “Wow, cinnamon.” The vocal reviews kept coming in… Paul, Eric, Heidi, Jim, Russell, Mondo (that dude is like 7’ tall), Noah, Jonas…

The results were over the top. People loved it. The complexity of the taste brought out many different notes. The finish was spot on. The general amazement at the price. To me, the most incredible thing was the fact that with a whole bar of some great dusties and the toughest bourbons to find available, people were asking for a second pour of Old Ezra Barrel Strength.

It simply has the perfect balance of a great taste, a deep flavor profile and nice warm finish. You combine that with their price point and once again Lux Row has found itself at the corner of price and quality… at an intersection I like to call, “value bourbon.”

When you see this one, load up. It’s a barrel strength offering with a proof that isn’t overwhelming and that value price which makes it a fantastic everyday drinker. This has the potential to grab a “house bourbon” moniker in my house and maybe yours as well (that “go-to” you always have on-hand).

Highest recommendations on this one!