As I’ve started writing about bourbon and reading more and more posts and comment threads I’ve noticed an odd trend: people love to talk shit on Woodford Reserve. I don’t know why, I’ve always found Woodford to be a solid bourbon, is it just because it’s so popular which makes it “not cool” to like, or do people genuinely not enjoy the way it tastes? If it’s that second thing, how did it get so popular? It’s a bizzare thing, but one I’ve run into many times.
Well I, for one, have nothing negative to say about Woodford or what they do. Sure, maybe some of their special releases aren’t the best, but hey, thats the point of them being experimental releases, some work and some don’t. Their normal, ongoing expressions are consistently good, and every barrel selection I’ve had around here, double oaked or not, have been really great.
So what’s the deal with the Double Oaked expression? Let’s let the soothing voice of Chris Morris tell us some high level info on this bourbon.
Now that we have all watched that we should feel thirsty and relaxed. Let’s drink some bourbon.
Distillery: Woodford Reserve Distillery
Location: Near Versailles, Kentucky
Mash Bill: 72% corn/18% rye/10% barley
Age: NAS (rumored 6 years)
ABV: 45.2% (90.4 proof)
Released: Summer 2015
Color: Deep Amber
Nose: I’ve never actually smelled a pot full of melted toffee, but I’m guessing it would smell pretty damn similar to this bourbon. The sweet toffee and caramel really steal the show on this aroma, but behind that are notes of oak and some sweet corn as well. I’m going to say it, this is probably the best smelling bourbon that I’ve ever smelled up inside my nose.
Taste: That toffee and corn sweetness carries hard to the palate and is quickly met by an oak character that is slightly dry and smokey. That oak perfectly balances out all the sweetness and honestly made me quit looking for other flavors because I simply didn’t care…this stuff just tastes freaking amazing.
Ok fine, so I finally decided to look for more hints in there and the thing that jumped out at me is going to make me sound weird, but screw it. Have you ever had those orange-flavored chocolate balls? The ones that are wrapped in foil and when you smash them on the table they break apart into orange slice shapes? That’s the other flavor I got. Not just any chocolate and orange flavors, but those specific things. For real.
Finish: As this one fades away is the sweetness is the first to go and the smokey oak lingers for quite a while. While the finish is balanced to start, that smoke does take over in kind of a big way and ultimately that is what you are left with. Not necessarily a bad thing but if I had to pick out one thing on this whiskey that wasn’t anything other than fantastic, that would be it…although it’s still kind of a stretch.
Overall: You never would have guessed by now, but I freaking love this stuff. My wife and I bought a bottle of a previous release around a year ago and have been hanging on to it, scared to drink it because we liked it so much and didn’t want it to be gone. Luckily we had exactly 4 ounces left so we were both able to drink the last of it along side this bottle, its replacement. The nose was pretty much identical but the main difference was on the palate. The previous release was considerably sweeter (not really corn, just that toffee thing) and didn’t have near the amount of oak as this current release. It is for this reason that I preferred the new release and my wife preferred the previous.