Woodford Reserve

Review: Woodford Reserve Double Oaked Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey by Jason Hambrey

Woodford Reserve Double Oaked.jpg
ABV
45.2%
Aging
Virgin Charred Oak (twice)
Recipe
~72% Corn, 18% Rye, 10% Malted Barley
Distiller Woodford Reserve (Versailles, Kentucky)

Woodford Reserve has a cooperage on site, and when I was at the distillery in 2014 they had just released this whisky and it was sold out everywhere. It is a combination of two types of casks – a heavily charred lightly toasted barrel and also a lightly charred but heavily toasted barrel which the whisky is matured for 9 months in, bringing out all sorts of oaky notes.


Review (2017)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: L300611542

  • Bottling Date: 2017

A rich, oaky, caramel-laden nose. Decadent caramel, apples, pear, cucumber, marmelade, plum jam, burnt toast, and hazlenut. It is interesting to taste woodford – because it is pot distilled, it is a lot narrower and in some senses cleaner than the typical column distilled bourbons, which means the grain comes out completely different – sharp, clean, and spicy. The oak is massive – if there was an oak centre of the brain, this would fry the circuits. The palate is full of charred oak, plum jam, caramel, smoke, and lots of spice – with lots of tannins, too. Oaky, and heavy. The palate, as they say, is going to oak – but this is a lot of oak – too much for me. It’s not that I don’t like it (I do, and I like tannic whiskies...), but I feel it doesn’t quite compete on the stage that other bourbons do. The finish is full of spice, dense fruit jam, charred oak, and tannins. Quite creamy, and it opens up as the bottle stays open.

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average, at $72.


Review: Woodford Reserve Distiller's Select Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey by Jason Hambrey

ABV
45.2%
Aging
Virgin Charred Oak
Recipe
~72% Corn, 18% Rye, 10% Malted Barley
Distiller Woodford Reserve (Versailles, Kentucky)

If you ever visit Kentucky, the most beautiful distillery (in my opinion) is Woodford Reserve. Found amidst cattle area where you can see some Kentucky thoroughbreds,the distillery boasts big stone barrel aging houses, which are cool due to the insulation from the thick walls. The company also has its own cooperage enabling them to be involved in the crafting of the whisky on the wood side as well. But, the biggest difference comes directly in distillation – they use pot stills (originally imported from Scotland) rather than the column stills used in the other Kentucky distilleries. As the distillery was founded by a Scotsman, it follows that they use the traditional Scottish pot still distillation. They have three pot stills, and their spirit is triple distilled.


Review (2014)

  • Batch: 10

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2014

Nose: Dried corn, vanilla, maraschino cherries, grapefruit, light honey, with a wonderful slight oaky earthiness. This element reminds me some of compost, not a bad smell – but the sweet earthiness of decomposing vegetation. It also has some notes of new leather, even the slightly chemical nature of that. The way the oak is integrated, with the grains, earthiness, and almost floral sweet honey – very engaging.

Taste: Honey and oak lead the start, with some fruitiness – there’s kick of gingery rye on the back along with some light oily sweetness- quite nice. Sweetness builds gradually until the end, when the oak comes right in and develops through to the finish. It is, I find, a touch sour and there’s a bit of an off-key bitter edge to this.

Finish: It develops nicely for some time before starting to fade. There’s some oak, apricot, cherry, banana, leading to some nectar-laden honey with a slightly drying tannic effect – though there’s lots of fruitiness, the finish isn’t that light – it’s a bit dense. However, the feel is quite nice – dense, and slightly concentrated, and eventually seems to “cleanse” itself as the flavour slowly unpacks and your mouth feels refreshed. The flavour does, however, dissipate a bit too quickly in my opinion.

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average, at $49.