Review: Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Malt Whiskey / by Jason Hambrey

Image provided courtesy of Woodford Reserve.

Image provided courtesy of Woodford Reserve.

Virgin Charred Oak
~51% Malted Barley, 47% Corn, 2% Rye
Distiller Woodford Reserve (Versailles, Kentucky)

I don’t get to try many straight malts, so I’m always eager here! This is special, too, since it’s a malted barley focused mashbill rather than a single malt aged in new oak (as many distilleries in the USA are doing).

Review (2019)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2019

The nose has freshly sawn lumber, vanilla, and – indeed – a fruity malty character! It provides a very rich middle to the nose, with lots of toffee, stone fruits, and nut characteristics. The Canadian in me thinks this would make awesome blending liquid…very intriguing. Toffee, toasted almond, green grape, dried rice, gooseberry, and baking spices. It is very complex, and very interesting to nose. I love it!

The palate has smoked meat, gooseberry, oak, and baking spice. It falls a bit flat, compared to the nose – but still has amazing complexity and umami-type characteristics. Tannins build their way into the finish, which is slightly acidic and has toffee, toasted almonds, green grape, coconut, and wet, old oak.

The nose is incredible – absolutely. The palate is still good, and very interesting – but it’s hard to compete with the nose. Nonetheless, although this might not be the best woodford I have – it’s probably my favourite for the sake of uniqueness.

This makes me think the straight malt category is worth some extra exploration…

Very Highly Recommended (19% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher). From a critical taste perspective, this falls into my lower category but it straddes the categories. But, this is so unique that I would recommend it at this level, nonetheless…

Value: High. This is a great price for this.