Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by the party behind it. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link in this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.
You know Ezra Brooks Rye. Green label in a square bottle, usually sitting somewhere around thigh level. For some it’s just better to buy it by the handle, and for others it’s the perfect journeyman for a friend’s weekend at the lake. Ezra is versatile, humble, it’s a workhorse of a whiskey. Now owned by Luxco, Ezra Brooks is releasing a new look and a new Rye whiskey.
Luxco, originally founded in 1958 in St. Louis Missouri, merged with MGP in 2021 as their products’ division. Luxco owns Ezra and a few other names in the bourbon industry, and you’ve no doubt enjoyed their whiskey. MGP, or Midwest Grain Products, is one of the largest whiskey producers in the industry, and you’ve likely had their stuff at one point or another without even knowing it.
Ezra Brooks 99 straight rye whiskey is the focus here. With a 51% rye mash bill, this is a very low rye compared to others like Bulleit or Redemption Rye. To be categorized as a straight rye it must be 51% rye, similar to the way bourbon must be 51% corn. The remainder is 45% corn, and 4% malted barley.
Ezra is going through a facelift. The brand has a few years on it now, and it’s time for a reimagining. You can likely still find the old square bottles on shelves around town but the new release bottle is a more modern traditional cylindrical bottle. There is still old west/saloon style script on the bottle with “99” prominently featured in large print in the middle. It’s a nice re-do of a bottle design, and it looks a tad more elegant than the old rectangular bottle.
A facelift will only get you so far. Ezra Rye is only $25 a bottle + tax depending on your state. This is a pretty darn good price given inflation and the explosion of whiskey prices in recent months. So, if the goal here is serviceable, is the whiskey worth a pick-up or is the whiskey inside just going to allow dust to collect on a new bottle? With that, we turn to the glass.
Tasting Notes: Ezra Brooks 99 Proof Rye
Vital Stats: $24.99 SRP. 49.5% abv. 51% rye mash bill.
Color: Straw with medium quick legs
Nose: This is a soft nose with some unmistakable alcohol esters. I found a perfume rye with clove rolled into a bread pudding.
Taste: Billowing notes of almond extract which hit and tingle the cheeks. The tingling sensation holds throughout the tasting experience. This is surprisingly robust for being 51% rye without becoming harsh. The mouthfeel is watery with a light pop in the cheeks. There is some white sugar sweetness along with rye berries throughout, but nothing overpowers or really puts itself on display. The finish is sweet with a soft grass note here and there.