Woodford Reserve Dist. Select

Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select

90.4 Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon

Batch 139, Bottle 4588

Woodford Reserve Distillery is located near Versailles, KY in the building that used to be known as Old Oscar Pepper Distillery (originally established by Elijah Pepper, remember we talked about this already guys!).  The distillery building is on the National Registry of Historic Places, but the brand “Woodford Reserve” is fairly new to the whiskey game compared to a lot of brands, first appearing in 1996 after the Brown-Forman corporation repurchased the property (long story) and got it back in operation.  Since then they have been putting out some great Kentucky Bourbon, and they recently revamped their visitor center grounds to make their distillery a must-go-to stop on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.  Looking at photos on their website, it looks like they’ve done a great job, and I can’t wait to make it here one day.  Of Brown-Forman’s many popular brands (Jack Daniel’s, El Jimador, Southern Comfort, and tons more–these guys are major players in the liquor scene), Woodford Reserve seems to be the one that is actually still a craft, small batch product.  Their master distiller, Chris Morris, has achieved “total badass” standing throughout the bourbon community for his consistent, delicious products.

This is a bourbon I’ve had many times, but here goes my first official tasting of it.  Nose is beautiful and balanced with a lot going on–ripe black cherries, orange peel, cocoa,  vanilla, caramel, and light oak, complex and just perfect.  I’m tempted to go buy some chocolate covered cherries to eat while drinking this right now, but it’s a little late!  There’s also a tiny (and perfect) amount of leather and tobacco on the nose, ya know just to remind you that it’s still manly even though it smells like cherries.  First sip brings joy and warmth to my heart–nice and chewy, orange and chocolate come through first and are very pleasing together, followed by caramel, toffee, dry cinnamon and cocoa, plus a bit of oak, rye, and a little roasted chestnut-nuttiness to round it all out.  Finish is smooth, medium length, and a little spicy.

Whoa.  That’s probably the most descriptors I’ve used in a tasting.  There is just a whole lot going on in this glass right now, and it all works so well together, nothing overpowering anything else, everything in its place.  It is a small batch, so every bottle won’t be exactly the same, but this is my second bottle, and I recall the same notes in my first bottle though this one tasted even better though maybe I was paying more attention this time.  Do yourself a favor and go buy a bottle of this right now.  They sell it in the half-size (375ml) so you don’t have to break the bank to get some, but they also sell it in a half-gallon size, and you should probably just splurge and get that!

Rating: 8.5 / 10

Bought at an ABC Store in Asheville, NC for $19.99 (375ml bottle)

 

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