Ezra Brooks Cask Strength Bourbon Whiskey Review

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Lux Row Distillers introduced Ezra Brooks Cast Strength a few years ago through a single barrel store pick format. But the sourced whiskey is cloaked in bit of darkness, with neither a distillery statement nor age statement on the bottle. And while it’s labeled “Cask Strength,” each bottle (regardless of the store pick) is 120 proof, so “Batch Proof” is really a more accurate descriptor (since it’s been cut with water to get it to a consistent proof).

Nonetheless, enough semantics. Let’s get sipping on this store pick from Nashville’s Total Wine & More.

At a Glance

  • Distillery: Not Stated (Kentucky)
  • Bottled: Lux Row Distillers
  • Location: Bardstown, Kentucky
  • Style: Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
  • Age: Not Stated (rumored 5-6 years)
  • Mashbill: 78% corn, 12% malted barley, 10% rye
  • Store Pick: Total Wine & More (Nashville, TN)
  • Proof: 120
  • MSRP: $50

Ezra Brooks Cask Strength Review: What We Say

Nosemedium ethanol, oak, stone fruit, lemon, cocoa, pipe tobacco
Palatewhite pepper, cinnamon, lemon zest, ginger candy, chocolate toffee
Finishmedium-long, milk chocolate, red hots
What You Can Expect to Pay$50-$65
Buy It: Now, Soon, Later, NeverSoon
Outsider Rating83/100

The nose on Ezra Brooks Cask Strength opens with medium ethanol, a reminder that a high-proof sip is in your future (if you already forgot). Wafts of oak and stone fruit (notably cherry and plum) follow, with some definite citrus that leans lemony. On the tail end, after letting it breathe a minute, there’s some sweetness in the form of cocoa—like powdered hot chocolate mix—and the calming aroma of sweet pipe tobacco. The nose gradually mellows, and the sweetness at the end is inviting.

On the palate, this bottle swings with an immediate spice punch in the form of white pepper (a little musty) and dry cinnamon powder. It’s forthright, but gingerly (excuse the pun) moves toward notes of lemon zest and ginger candy, kinda like one of those nostalgic stick candies you get at Cracker Barrel. As the spiciness subsides, milk chocolate toffee emerges. A little chewing bolsters the milk chocolate and accentuates the toffee’s buttery makeup.

The medium-long finish lingers with more milk chocolate and a touch of red hots candy. This bourbon really punches hard on both the nose (ethanol) and palate (white pepper/cinnamon), before mellowing out with chocolatey sweetness. I dig it.

Recommended Sip

Give Ezra Brooks CS a neat sip first, just to experience its full force. But the addition of an ice cube is welcoming in a full glass if you want to quell the immediate spice punch and accentuate the chocolatey finish.

Try Another High-Proof Punch

  • Elijah Craig Barrel Proof
  • Distillery: Elijah Craig Distillery (Heaven Hill)
  • Location: Bardstown, KY
  • Style: Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
  • Age: 12 Years
  • Mashbill: 78% corn, 12% malted barley, 10% rye
  • Proof: 118-140
  • MSRP: $70
  • Full Review of Elijah Craig Barrel Proof

Elijah Craig BP (A123) is viscous and rich—and notably butterscotch (as opposed to caramel) with notes of buttery, brown sugar. And the barrel shows some of its 12-year age with a balanced kick of charred oak. A bit of chewing brings out some dark cherry. And then it’s fire-breathing time as cayenne pepper spice roars forward. The long finish hits with a one-two punch of rich butterscotch and lingering, lip-numbing cayenne. Truly an outstanding sip.