I met up with a good friend tonight to catch up on old times. We hadn’t seen each other in a while – he brought the cigars and, of course, The Whisky Guy brought the whiskey. I went with the Woodford Reserve.

Part of the law for bourbon (27 CFR Part 5.22 & 5.23) is that it may not have any added colors or flavors. One of the first things that strikes me about Woodford Reserve is its bottle – totally clear. You can see the liquid! So many whisky bottles try to hide behind labels – which both limit your ability to see the actual color and also darken the liquid inside. Not with Woodford Reserve. A nice, clear bottle, with a cork top. Good color inside!

Woodford Reserve

Woodford Reserve

Next up – let’s check out the printing. Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky. No age statement, so it’s anyone’s guess how much beyond 4 years they’ve matured. 90.4% – pretty average for a bourbon. The distillery is in Versailles, KY – an hour and change east of Louisville and just 20 minutes west of Lexington.

The Meat:

  • Appearance – Dark caramel, buttery
  • Nose – Vanilla, spiced raisin, a bit electrical
  • Palate – Baked pears, warm – a bit undermatured.
  • Diluted – Red wine and toasted oak
  • Body – Full but not lingering
  • Finish – Warm, spicy and long.
  • Rating – 3.5/5
  • Overall – Not a bad whisky. Not bad for cocktails with the touch of extra power, but could really benefit from a little more time in a cask.

One of the ways Woodford Reserve differentiates themselves is through copper-pot (or batch) distillation (as opposed to column or continuous stills). Batch distillation gives a bit more character to the whisky, which is apparent in the mouth feel. I’m not sure how much of the total distillate goes through the pot stills, but I’m fairly sure it’s much less than 100% (I’ve heard as low as 10%).

I wouldn’t call it a go-to, but definitely deserves a place in a well-stocked whisky cabinet.