Whisky of the Week

Meandering the world, one whisky at a time

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Woodford Reserve Straight Bourbon

Woodford Reserve Bourbon

Woodford Reserve is a brand of small batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey produced by the Brown-Forman Corporation. It is also one of the oldest Distillers in the Kentucky county. A distiller named Elijah Pepper began producing small amounts of whiskey in 1797 and soon afterwards built a distillery. Following Elijah’s death in 1831, his son Oscar Pepper inherited the distillery.  The distillery  became known as The Oscar Pepper Distillery. He hired Dr James Crow as the head distiller.

Crow was a Scotsman who qualified as a physician and a chemist. He championed the sour mash fermentation process that is key in the production of bourbon.  After changing hands a few times and falling in disrepair, Brown-Forman purchased the property in 1993 and refurbished it to bring it back into operation. They renamed it The Woodford Reserve Distillery in 2003.

Woodford Reserve was introduced to the market in 1996. In 1995 the distillery listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and in 2000, it was designated a National Historic Landmark.

The mash bill for Woodford Reserve features a high percentage of rye. It has a 72% corn, 18% rye and 10% malt ratio. Unusual also for being triple distilled and having the lowest proof upon entering the barrel where it matures for at least six years.

Related Article:  Knob Creek bourbon

Tasting notes for the Woodford Reserve

Woodford Reserve Bourbon

Edward from The Smoky Dram joined us for this tasting.

COLOUR:  A dark copper and described by some as a honey amber.  It is a very oily whiskey.

NOSE: Notes of honey sweetness with apricots and oranges in the background.  There are bits of condensed milk richness mixed with vanilla and hints of spices.

PALATE: On the palate, there is oak and sweetness perfectly balanced with a bit of apricot and cinnamon spiciness.  There are notes of tangy winter fruits and vanilla mixed in with  hint of toffee sweetness in the background.   Woodford Reserve is rich, buttery and smooth with a full body and a satisfying mouth feel.

FINISH: Long and lingering and end in notes of sweet spices.

As a result, we give the Woodford Reserve Straight Bourbon whisky a RATING: EXCELLENT.

A great bourbon when you are in the mood for something sweet and spicy to warm you right up. One of our favourite Bourbons to date.  I paired this great bourbon with some pizza over here.  Go and see what pizza worked best with this bourbon. During 2017 I tried the Woodford Reserve Double Oaked release.  All I can say is… O my word…  Notes of Malva pudding….  You can read all about it HERE.

Also Read: Evan Williams Kentucky Bourbon


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  1. Thanks for letting me join in your weekly whisky ritual John and Jeannette. I thoroughly enjoyed it and was very glad to see that I am not the only whiskyphile to carry around a notebook to jot down my tasting notes in!

    I found it to be lovely bourbon with burnt caramel sweetness and warm winter spices to entice you to enjoy it further. And enjoy it I did, loved the thick mouthfeel to round out the whole experience.

    • John Wentzel

      It was great to have you and we will have to do it again soon.

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