Old Ezra 101

BRBON_EZR2                                                             It is winter in Indianapolis, that usually equates to cold. But because of an unusually warm winter here, we are sitting outside sipping Bourbon and smoking a cigar with 60 degree weather in February. No complaints out of us. The Bourbon? Old Ezra 101 Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. The cigars? Rocky Patel Broad Leaf, but that is for after the Bourbon tasting. We don’t want to disrupt our taste buds while rating.

Old Ezra is not the easiest Bourbon to find. It is aged 7 years, sells in the $17 to $20 range, and like the name says, it is 101 proof. OE comes in a screw top square bottle that will immediately remind Whiskey drinkers of Jack Daniels or Evan Williams, and like Jack, it is charcoal filtered. There is an Ezra Brooks Bourbon made by the same people, we assume this is the same juice just aged longer, hence the name. But we could find no confirmation of this.

NOSE

Ron:  Not much nose at all, a little caramel and a medicine type smell.

Todd:  I got the caramel and a slight ethanol aroma that is probably Ron’s medicine smell.  I also picked up oak, tobacco and a spicy note.

TASTE

Ron:  A little caramel, ethanol, leather, oak and a nutty vanilla taste. Much better than the nose had predicted.

Todd:  I was just the opposite, didn’t really get a whole lot of flavors.  A little caramel, a little toffee, and a slight woody taste. Also, very hot neat, couldn’t really taste anything until two cubes had melted.

FINISH

Ron:  Medium with a slight charcoal taste.

Todd:   Medium-short to medium with a bit of a medicinal taste.

OVERALL

Ron:  Considering it’s lack of nose it was not bad, but there are others I would rather have at that price point.

Todd:  I agree to some extent, nothing about this Bourbon jumped out at me, but I didn’t think it was bad for the price. Strangely I didn’t smell or taste the charcoal filtering.

Nose     3 out of 5

Taste     7 out of 10

Finish    3.5 out of 5

Total                13.5 out of 20 Barrels

While we weren’t blown away by Old Ezra, it certainly is at a price point to at least give it a try. At 101 proof it can also stand up to being mixed. Also, it is hard to find a 7 year Bourbon under $20.

Colonel Taylor Single Barrel

single1                                                   As anyone who knows us or reads this blog, there are certain brands that we just really enjoy, think Weller’s or Michter’s. Add to that Colonel Taylor. We couldn’t remember anything we didn’t like that came from the Colonel. Hopefully that holds true for today’s tasting which is Colonel E. H. Taylor’s Single Barrel, Bottled in Bond, Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.

CTSB is, since it is bottled in Bond, 100 proof, goes for around $60 and is found at liquor stores that have a good Bourbon selection. It comes in the same vintage looking corked tall bottle as all of Colonel Taylor’s Whiskey, and as all of them, it it also encased in a cool looking cardboard tube. Presented in your Bourbon cabinet either in the case or naked with just the bottle, it definitely stands out

NOSE

Todd:   Strong caramel up front followed by cherries, vanilla, toffee, and cocoa. Also picked an oaky aroma. Very nice.

Ron:   Great nose, full of scents including the caramel, cherries and vanilla that Todd got. I got some leather, praline and spice as well.

TASTE

Todd:   The caramel that was on the nose was the most pronounced taste, followed by citrus, a little leather, and a nice sweetness. Very smooth neat but needs a cube or a little water to tame the heat 100 proof Bourbon’s typically have.

Ron:  The taste just duplicated the nose, caramel, cherries, toffee, leather, praline, spice and vanilla. Just a bit too hot neat, one cube makes it.

FINISH

Todd:   Medium long and sweet. Occasionally would get a slight buttery taste on the finish.

Ron:    Long finish with just a hint of cinnamon.

OVERALL

Todd:   Very tasty, I really, really enjoyed sipping CTSB.

Ron:   Fantastic bourbon! Well worth the $60 price tag. Glad I have a bottle in the cabinet for friends who appreciate good Bourbon. My son is turning the big 21 soon and I have been trying to figure out which bottle to get him for his Birthday. Colonel Taylor Single Barrel is the one. My thought would be that He could have a taste every year. If so it could last over 20 years. Too bad Bourbon doesn’t age in the bottle. But, my son being a Millennial, who knows how long it will last.

Nose    4.5 out of 5

Taste    9.5 out of 10

Finish   4.5 out of 5

Total          18.5 out of 20 Barrels.

Looks like Colonel E. H. Taylor has come through again. We would definitely recommend this great Bourbon, although we would not waste it in a cocktail. The cost is a little steep, but to have around to break out for a taste every other month or so is worth every penny.

Wild Turkey Rye 81 Proof

brbon_wil40                                                             Another day, another tasting of an iconic brand. This time it is Wild Turkey Rye 81. We want to emphasize that this is the 81 proof Rye expression, not the 101 proof Rye.

Wild Turkey Rye comes in the same, very recognizable, corked bottle with the picture of a turkey that the famous 101 Bourbon comes in as well as the 101 Rye and the 81 proof Bourbon. Even though, we must point out, Wild Turkey is in the process of changing all their labels. The picture above is the new label. It Sells for around $20 or under and while not hard to find, it is not as available as the 101 Bourbon.

For us, Wild Turkey has been sort of hit or miss. We have always been fond of the 101 Bourbon, Kentucky Spirit and really like the Rare Breed, but not so much the 81 proof Bourbon or the Forgiven. Where will the 81 proof Rye fall?

NOSE

Ron:    Big nose of Rye followed by some citrus, anise and cedar. Also got a very slight hint of mint.

Todd:    I also got the Rye up front along with the citrus and even the slight whiff of mint. But from there we split, I got aromas of old leather, smoke, spice and cocoa. I also detected, in a good way, a smell that reminded me of wet stone.

Ron:    Wet stone? like to sharpen your knife?

Todd:   No, like water on a rock.

TASTE

Ron:   Again, the Rye up front with anise, citrus and mint. Also had a grassy taste and something that reminded me of some sort of medicine from my childhood. I think I got a bit of wet stone that Todd did but not so sure it wasn’t the power of suggestion.

Taste:   Good neat or with one rock, definitely could tell I was drinking a Rye. A smooth clean taste with a little bit of leather nuances. Very enjoyable.

FINISH

Ron:   Medium finish with a nice sweetness to it.

Todd:    A medium, sweet, almost burnt sugar finish.

OVERALL

Ron:   Great Rye for the price, probably the best inexpensive Rye on the market at a reasonable $20. Makes a great Manhattan.

Todd:   Nice nose while being smooth and tasty on the tongue. I agree with Ron, great Rye for the price. I would mention though, we really liked Rittenhouse Rye as well, and it is in same price range.

Ron:  True, we need to try Rittenhouse again before we can declare a victor.

Nose     4.25 out of 5

Taste      8.5 out of 10

Finish    4.25 out of 5

Total Score        17 out of 20 Barrels.

It looks like Wild Turkey Rye 81 will fall on the positive side of the Wild Turkey Ledger. It is good neat, on the rocks or in a cocktail, and at this price you won’t mind using it as a mixer.

This is also a good beginner Rye if you or a friend have been traditionally Bourbon drinkers and have wanted to get in on the Rye craze. If you don’t like it you won’t be out much.

Recommendation, give it a try, it just might become your new go to drink.

Booker’s

Bokkers                                                                                      Here is another name that helped push the Bourbon market to what it is today. Booker’s Small Batch Bourbon is part of a collection of small batch Bourbons from Jim Beam. For many, us included, this along with Basil Hayden, Baker’s and to a lesser extent Knob Creek, were the first premium Bourbons we tasted. Before these Bourbons we thought jumping from Jim to Jack or even Crown Royal was the peak of whiskey indulgence. Like other Bourbons we have reviewed, it has been a long time since either of us have tried Booker’s.

Booker’s comes in a standard looking corked bottle, though at times we have seen it packed inside a wooden frame, with a Plexiglas front which seemed pretty cool. Reminiscent of a fire extinguisher box hanging on the wall in elementary schools. It is uncut so it is bottled at a high proof, falling between 121 and 130 depending on the barrel. Booker’s sells for around $55 for the 750 ML and seems to be generally available.

NOSE

Ron:    Some ethanol upfront probably due to the high alcohol content. Getting past that came some butterscotch, caramel and a raisin aroma.

Todd:   Definitely smelled hot, also picked up on the caramel and raisin that Ron got but not the butterscotch. Beyond that a little bit of black fruit, some spice, clove and a real slight whiff of banana.

TASTE

Ron:   Very hot neat, needs a cube. Tasted what I got on the nose minus the butterscotch. Also got a bit of red fruit and an oaky flavor.

Todd:    Yes, very hot, needs water or cubes or both. I didn’t really get a lot from this, a little caramel, a little cedar which is probably Ron’s oak, and a slight medicine taste.

FINISH

Ron:   Medium to long but not much different regarding taste.

Todd:  I agree, maybe a little sweetness.

Ron:  Yeah, I’ll give you that.

OVERALL

Ron:   At over $50 a bottle I expect a little more. I would try some at a friend’s house or at a bar before I committed to a whole bottle.

Todd:   The nose got me fired up but the taste and finish didn’t deliver. I feel like this is just Jim Beam Black at a higher proof.

Nose    4 out of 5

Taste    8 out of 10

Finish    3.5 out of 5

Total                  15.5 out of 20 Barrels

Well, absence did not make the heart grow fonder. Both of us were disappointed in Booker’s, have our tastes changed that much? This was a bourbon that both of us used to really enjoy. Sad.

Our final thought is you should only buy this if just want to say you have a bottle. Booker’s just doesn’t stand up to the price tag.

 

Woodford Double Oaked

woodforddoubleoaked                                          Woodford Reserve Double Oaked has been a favorite of ours since it was introduced a few years back. Having said that it has been a while since either of us have had a taste. Would we still hold it in such high regard?

Double Oaked is the standard Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select aged an extra 9 months in barrels that have been lightly charred but toasted twice as long. DD is at the higher end of the price scale selling for around $55 for the 750 ML bottle, is 90.4 proof and is widely available. It comes in a corked bottle that has the same shape as the Distiller’s Select.

NOSE

Ron:   Robust alcohol immediately on the nose but not in a bad way. A lot going on here including a strong aroma of butterscotch, caramel, leather, cherries, and tobacco. Behind all that I picked up a little cinnamon and honey.

Todd:  Wow! This has to be one of the best Bourbon aromas I have ever come across. Like Ron I got an overwhelming nose of butterscotch along with caramel, leather, cherries and the cinnamon. I also got hints of chocolate, vanilla and a nutty, sweet cake aroma.

TASTE

Ron:  Almost everything I got on the nose I got on the tongue. Heavy on the butterscotch with caramel, leather, honey and tobacco right behind. I also got slight tastes of toffee.

Todd:  Smooth even neat but really shines with one cube. Like the nose there was an almost overwhelming taste of butterscotch and caramel. Getting past that I detected cherries, vanilla and cinnamon.

FINISH

Ron:  Medium to long with a ever-so-slight bitterness to it.

Todd:  Medium to long with some type of woody taste. I also got that strange slight bitterness that Ron got.

OVERALL

Ron:  This is definitely different than the regular Woodford Distiller’s Select. Last time I tried this was almost 2 years ago and while I thought it was great, I do not remember getting this many aromas and tastes.  This is great stuff! Side note, I prefer DD neat.

Todd:  Really liked Double Oaked. Lot on the nose, the taste doesn’t disappoint and has a nice finish The extra time in the barrel adds a complexity that  the standard Woodford just can’t match.

Nose     4.75 out of 5

Taste       9.25 out of 10

Finish      4.5 out of 5

Total Score         18.50 out of 20 Barrels

Well guess that answers the question of whether we still like this stuff or not. Great nose, taste and finish makes for a great Bourbon. The price is a little steep but at least it is worth it, you are not just paying for some novelty or hard to find Bourbon. DD also makes a good cocktail but why waste it on that?

Our final recommendation, Even if you only take it out once a year, put in a little overtime and get yourself a bottle of Woodford Reserve Double Oaked.