Bourbon Justice: How Whiskey Law Shaped America by Brian Haara

I state in my Statement of Ethics that, if I ever discuss a product that is produced by one of my friends, I will disclose it at the beginning of the article. I also state that I will disclose if I received a review copy. Brian Haara is a friend of mine. I did buy the book to support his work, but I also received a review copy prior to the publication date as well. All opinions on the work are my own, but it won’t hurt to keep in mind that I might be biased.

I had been reading (now housed on long before I met its author in real life. It was, and is, a great resource into bourbon history. I interviewed Brian Haara, lawyer and the proprietor of the site back in 2015. In it, he let loose the secret that he was starting to write a book and ever since that time, I have been eagerly waiting for it to arrive.

Back in April, it finally hit Amazon as a pre-order. I immediately placed my order, without even knowing the publication date, and settled in to wait for my copy to arrive. Interestingly, the publisher reached out to me to see if I wanted a review copy of the book. Since I was anxiously awaiting the book, I decided to accept so that I could read it early.

Let me tell you, Bourbon Justice: How Whiskey Law Shaped America is a great book! Brian Haara tells us the fascinating story of how many very litigious bourbon folks ended up, often accidentally, crafting a new and different American commercial society that is still with us today. Lawsuits that started with bourbon ended up affecting industries as far reaching as women's lingerie and mouthwash.

Brian covers topics such as the development of Trade Mark and Brand Name rights, advertising and "puffery," consumer protection, and truth in labeling. And along the way, he delves into the history of many familiar Bourbon brands and distilleries. He even included topical tasting notes. In the end, you will learn something about bourbon, you will learn something about business, and you will learn something about the less talked about history that made America the country it is today. I highly recommend that you run right out and buy it.

But one of you won't have to do that! Remember how I said I had preordered it, but that I ended up with a review copy? Well, I like supporting my friends so I wanted to make sure that I still bought a copy. But as you might expect, I do not need two of the same book. My purchased copy is set to arrive on Monday and as soon as it does, I'd like to ship it off to one of my readers. If you'd like an opportunity for that to be you, enter below! The winner will be drawn on November 7th, 2018 and notified via email. I’m sorry, but I can only ship this to addresses in the United States and Canada due to international shipping costs. Good Luck! accepts no advertising. It is solely supported by the sale of the hand-made products I sell at the BourbonGuy Gifts Etsy store. If you'd like to support, visit Thanks!

Old Ezra Barrel Strength, 7-year-old bourbon

I state in my Statement of Ethics that if I accept a review sample, I will disclose it at the beginning of the article. Please consider it disclosed. I’d like to thank the folks at Common Ground PR for providing this sample to me with no strings attached. As always, all thoughts are just my opinion.

I fear I might have made a grievous error. Last week I wrote a post that ended up with my wife getting a little miffed at me. My mistake was not in writing or in even posting said article. She is my proofreader, after all, and she agreed it was an apt description of the whiskey in question. No, my mistake was in telling...basically anyone that would listen...the story of how I got her to let me put that story on the internet. Which naturally included a repeat of the story itself.

In what I am assured is an entirely unrelated set of circumstances, my HoneyDo list for the weekend grew immensely. For example: the leaves needed to be raked and bagged, the lawn needed to be mowed, the floors needed to be scrubbed, the bathroom tub needed to be recaulked, the shower needed to have the grout cleaned and the tiles resealed, a bit of broken trim needed to be fixed, the carpet needed to be shampooed, the gutters cleaned, the siding washed, the walls, pictures and surfaces dusted...

You get the idea.

But now after a long weekend where the chores lasted from the time I got up in the morning to the time I went to bed at night, my penance has been paid...I mean, all those things that "just happened to need finishing" are done. I can finally sit down, relax and think about a whiskey.

And a decent whiskey at that. Recently, I received a sample of Old Ezra Barrel Strength, 7-year-old bourbon. You might be familiar with Old Ezra 101 proof, 7-year-old bourbon. Well as you might expect, this is a barrel proof version of that.

Old Ezra 101 proof has long been a favorite in my house. Even as the price was gradually increasing in my area, I still found it to be an excellent value. That was until I could no longer find it at all. I'd noticed it slowly disappearing from local store shelves. And at some point, it clicked that no one had it anymore.

Once I received this sample, I asked them if the Barrel Strength was a replacement for the 101 proof. Their answer: "We stopped producing Old Ezra 101 last summer and have been selling through the remaining bottles before releasing the new package this fall with the new bottle and barrel proof."

So I wasn't crazy. 101 was gone. I got sad momentarily, but then I remembered that the barrel proof version exists and that 117 proof is higher than 101 proof. After that all was right with the world.

Old Ezra Barrel Strength, 7-year-old bourbon

Purchase Info: This sample was generously provided for review purposes. Suggested retail is $39.99 per 750 mL bottle.

Details: 58.5% ABV. Age stated at 7 years old.

Nose: Oak, cloves, nutmeg, vanilla, and brown sugar

Mouth: Nice and warm with vanilla, brown sugar, nutmeg, cloves, and an oak sharpness.

Finish: Long and very warm. Lingering notes of oak and baking spice.


Thoughts: This is delicious. The proof bump does really well for this whiskey, allowing more concentrated flavors to come through. It’s a very nice step up from the previous 101 proof version. Unfortunately, the price has also taken a nice step up. But when I compare this to other barrel proof bourbons, I think price is more than fair.

In an era where other companies are removing age statements from products or discontinuing those age stated products altogether, it’s nice to see a company relaunch a product with both a proof bump while also keeping the age statement. And keeping it prominently displayed across the bottle at that.

Overall, there should be no reason to not have this be the barrel proof bourbon you keep on your home bar. Inexpensive enough to use in cocktails. Rich and complex enough to drink on its own. accepts no advertising. It is solely supported by the sale of the hand-made products I sell at the BourbonGuy Gifts Etsy store. If you'd like to support, please visit Thanks!