The bourbon section at my local BevMo is pretty good. They have higher end bourbons that sit locked in a case from which you can ogle to your heart’s content, but they also have mid-range bourbons sitting on the open shelves that have short reviews tacked on to the shelf edge. Sometimes the reviews are fairly spot on; other times, it’s like I’m drinking something that has nothing to do with the blurb. I guess it’s like going to your local Barnes and Noble or Borders and seeing those handwritten staff reviews that are supposed to add a personal touch to get you to buy the book. To be fair, the bourbon reviews are usually from critics who are judging the product that are usually entered into competitions at bourbon festivals. I like to think that because I have one foot in the advertising world in my professional life (and it’s radio advertising that I’m talking about), I’m fairly immune to the hype surrounding a particular product. However, I was totally and completely suckered by this:
“The ultimate sipping whiskey?” Only for those who “appreciate the finer things?” Jesus, I’m pathetic ’cause I bought the bottle without a second thought — and didn’t have an ounce of buyer’s remorse. Now, I have to admit that the packaging of the Ezra B. is quite stunning. There a kind of regal quality that says: “This bourbon is a winner.” I think it has to do with the maroon, gold and blue ribbon that festoons the bottle, and the faux handwritten barrel number and bottling date that’s etched into the label. So, for sheer packaging, Ezra B. looks like a grand old bourbon. But that’s the packaging, what about the contents inside? First off, the coloring isn’t as rich as the bottle suggests. Rather, there’s an amber tone to it that hints it’s going to be rather light on the palate. Well, as Gomer Pyle would say, “Surprise, surprise, surprise!” That 99 proof whiskey packs a wollop – as you’ll see in this photo series that tries to put a fine point on the matter.
For a middle-range bourbon, the Ezra B. does sort of live up to the hype. It’s not quite the ultimate sipping whiskey, but it’s certainly up there in terms of quality. The price is reasonable, too. I paid about $37 (and some change) for this and think they could fetch about 10 dollars more a bottle without anyone crying foul. Also, one of the more pleasant surprises is that the dominant tastes linger after sipping on this. And if you’re a fan of vanilla and caramel you’re going to love this bourbon that’s not overly sweet, but gives you the best of those dominant flavors without succumbing to a sugary aftertaste.
Four out of five tumblers!