Squire wrote:...For the price of one bottle of 86 proof, no age statement Lexington Whisky, in the really attractive bottle, I can get two bottles of 7 year old 101 proof Ezra Brooks. Before I plonk down $28.00 Lexington will have to convince me their product is twice as good as the older, higher proof well established brand.
Your choice of which "not-on-everyone's A-list" whiskey to compare Lexington to really rang a bell with me. First of all, are you referring to Town Branch? That's really the only Lexington Distillery brand I'm familiar with, although I know they produce other brands, and that Pearse Lyons, the owner/distiller is very proud of the Irish-style whisky they make. I'm not sure where their bourbon is sourced from, but I would suspect Buffalo Trace. It tastes like rather good Buffalo Trace whiskey to me. And that's what I would have compared it to.
Now, Old Ezra (which I like A LOT) is ALSO bottled by a non-distillery (Luxco, nee David Sherman, in St. Louis, Mo) from stock distilled from another (or perhaps multiple) vendor. But if it were twice
the price it is, it would STILL be better-tasting whiskey (to me, at least) than Town Branch. Ezra Brooks was never a distillery-owned brand, BTW; before it's current owners, the brand had been made in Owensboro (probably by Medley), and in Lawrenceburg (KY), I believe at the Hoffman Distillery, which Julian Van Winkle's father later bought and renamed Commonwealth. In fact, the "finest little distillery" shown on the Ezra Brooks label looks very similar to that distillery, or least what was left of it when we visited Julian there before he moved to Buffalo Trace (see http://ellenjaye.com/oldrip.htm
I just "did some research" on Old Ezra 101 while writing this. My example isn't a particulary ancient one like some of the brands around here. (Old Ez' gets replenished fairly often in our collection, mostly due to "owner-based evaporation", don'tcha know). My guess is that, while the YOUNGEST whiskey in the bottle might be 7 years old, there is some much older whiskey in there. Maybe a LOT older. And it might not all be Heaven Hill whiskey, either; remember that Luxco buys whiskey from several sources, and I'm sure I can taste some strong Glenmore/Barton notes in there, too. David Sherman was Charles Medley's bottler for his Wathen's bourbon before the brand ended up with Frank-Lin in San Jose, CA. The flavor-profile similarity with Wathen's seems pretty obvious to me. Anyway, I just thought I'd second your praise of Old Ezra, especially since someone is bound to give you grief for drinking it