Nose: I’m not sure if yesterday’s day off gave my nose a better sensitivity, but I’m getting a heavy dose of spice on the nose of this guy. And, alcohol - not overpowering, but present. It seems like it might be a heads-up on the proof of this one. Palate: I got a bit hit of rye spiciness right off the bat that then seemed to blend into a really nice sweetness. The sweet was caramel and vanilla and what others have described as that “classic bourbon taste”. It did not live up to its nose as far as alcohol and it has a pleasant, though not terrible thick, mouthfeel. The finish is pretty long and you get quite a bit of residual taste in the back of your throat. On the first sip, it had some heat, but on subsequent sips, it turned into just a nice warming. After it goes down, you feel it for quite a while and it continues on with an eventual return of a little bit of spiciness. It was a very pleasant feeling and great for the slow sipping called for on a day like today (rainy). Comments: This actually turned out to be a good choice for a cold, dreary day. If you like a rye heavy mash bill, you will probably enjoy this. Luckily, I got the rye content right this time, but it apparently doesn’t have as much rye in the mash bill as I would have guessed. modernthirst.com states the mash bill is 78% corn, 10% rye and 12 % malted barley. Now, the bad news. When I started researching this one, it turns out they stopped making the 101 proof in 2017. It was put out by Luxco, which also makes the Blood Oath selections and Rebel Yell Single Barrel 10 year. The label says this bourbon is “charcoal mellowed”, which is, apparently, a different thing from the Jack Daniels/Lincoln County Process. Old Ezra used a small amount of activated charcoal to filter the aged whiskey before bottling, which is a typical process in most bourbon. [The Lincoln County Process filters the NEW make whiskey BEFORE aging.] Old Ezra is believed to be sourced from Heaven Hill (and, I think this might be true, because I picked up on hints of similarity between it and some of the Heaven Hill products reviewed earlier). This bottle was, I think, in the low $20 range or maybe less, so very affordable, although, sadly, it is probably going to be hard to find today. BUT….take heart. This is the kind of bourbon that you can possibly find in that little out-of-the-way liquor store YEARS after it went away. It takes a bit of luck and you have to look in a lot of stores, but it does happen. That’s why, when I’m out and about and have the time, I always pop into little liquor stores to check out what they have. You just never know. Bottom line: IF you see it, pick it up. If it isn’t your cup of tea, you can give it to me, or….use it for cocktails. Also…..They put out a barrel strength version of this, which I thought I had. I just went down to the saloon and confirmed that I DO have a bottle of the barrel strength, so I’ll put that one on the list for review.
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