Editor’s Note: This spirit 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.
All-natural cream and Kentucky Straight bourbon over anything is heaven on earth. I was first introduced to bourbon cream in 2011 while touring Buffalo Trace Distillery. I knew about Bailey’s Irish Cream, but we were still years off from boozy milkshakes and TikTok bartending crazes. Back in 2011 there was one place you could get Bourbon Cream and it was in Kentucky at the distillery. I brought home around three bottles I’m pretty sure.
Since 2011 the availability has increased and slowly multiple companies have tried their hands at this confectioner’s drunken dream. Ezra Brooks is bringing forward a reimagined bourbon cream to market. Originally the Ezra Bourbon Cream came in their traditional rectangular bottle and was bottled at 25 proof. It had mixed fanfare from reviewers. Ezra Brooks, and more critically the people at Luxco/MGP, decided to go back the drawing board on this and are trying again.
The “new” release of Ezra Brooks bourbon cream has upped the ABV from 25 to 33 and reimagined the bottle from a clear rectangle to a blackout cylindrical bottle. The “upscaled” bottle includes embossed Luxco on the shoulder. At 33% ABV, it has one of the highest proof levels of any offering in the category.
Before we go much further, it’s important to understand the difference between bourbon cream and Irish cream. We are probably familiar with Bailey’s and cocktails like White Russians – major takeaways and big differences between the two. Bourbon Cream uses real bourbon, cream, and is generally a small batch as the market is smaller. Irish cream, on the other hand, adds cocoa for sweetness because the underlying Irish whiskey tends be on the more robust side. Bourbon is generally very sweet because of the corn. Irish cream is often more chocolatey, while bourbon cream will be more vanilla or caramel flavored. They are not interchangeable and do provide different flavors to any drink they are in.
To me this is clearly not something you’re supposed to drink neat. I don’t mean to tell you how to drink your whiskey products, but this seems to me to be something you’re designed to mix. Unfortunately, I am not reviewing this in cold weather or eggnog season. I always try any review product neat first, but sometimes when it’s obvious the product is intended to be an additive, I give it some slack.
Here, I want to see how it is straight-up – is the base product enjoyable? However, after that, I want to let this bourbon cream really show off and make something to see if this might just be a secret weapon when winter comes back. With that, we turn to the glass.
Tasting Notes: Ezra Brooks Bourbon Cream Liqueur
Vital Stats: $21.99 SRP. 33% abv.
Color: light chocolate milk
Nose: Caramel latte with an undertone of oak.
Taste: Tasting straight, it’s a little watery and doesn’t feel creamy enough for me. The alcohol stands out over the middling cream notes. Over ice, cooling down the whiskey you get a lot more of the cream notes and corn sweetness. With ice this really tasted like a dessert.
There aren’t a ton of notes because of the dairy flavor. It really tastes like boozy caramel milk, like a latte you added a nip of bourbon to. Finish wasn’t chalky or thick but was very dairy forward.