Best Bourbons | Brown-Forman Distillery | Review

Every Woodford Reserve Whiskey Reviewed [2021]

Apr 27, 2021

Glencairn Whiskey Glass

Woodford Reserve is a newer whiskey brand distilling at the historic Old Oscar Pepper Distillery. Distillation has been happening at this location since 1812. Woodford Reserve was founded in 1996 by Brown-Forman. Its whiskeys stand out with its traditional copper pot still and innovative use of malted grains through its brands. Woodford Reserve Bourbon is also the official bourbon of the Kentucky Derby. Brown-Forman also owns Old Forester, Jack Daniels, and Cooper’s Craft.

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Woodford Reserve Bourbon Review

Woodford Reserve Bourbon

As mentioned above, Woodford Reserve Bourbon is the official bourbon of the Kentucky Derby. Annually, they release a special Kentucky Derby-themed bottle.

Nose – 87 out of 100 Points

The nose is layered sweetness with butterscotch, honey, and vanilla. It’s brightened with citrus notes and balanced with a developed toasted oak. It’s not terribly complex but it’s a solid performance.

Taste – 85 out of 100 Points

The sweet is subtle at the front of the palate. More like a light caramel. The palate is surprisingly spicy in contrast to the nose. There are toasted grains, white pepper, and charred graham crackers. There’s some tannic oak back of the palate and just a hint of citrus on the side palate.

Finish – 85 out of 100 Points

Short finish. Malty sweetness. Toasted oak undertones. Dried raisins. Peppercorns.

Complexity – 85 out of 100 Points

It’s tasty. It’s straightforward. It is not a perfect bourbon but under $30 perfection is a unicorn.

Value – 87 out of 100 Points

Woodford Reserve Bourbon is a solid value for under $30. Its unique value is in its production — a blend of copper pot still bourbon and column still bourbon.

Verdict – Silver 85.8 out of 100 Points

The Bourbon Bard Silver Medal

Woodford Reserve Double Oaked Bourbon Review

Woodford Reserve Double Oaked Bourbon

I remember my first bottle of Double Oaked. Picked it up after an episode of Bourbon Pursuit. It was an entirely new flavor profile. It was reminiscent of sassafras, and it still has that pop of flavor as I drink it today.

Double Oaked takes regular Woodford Reserve bourbon and lets it rest in a second barrel. The second barrel has been toasted for 40 minutes and charred for 5 seconds. The first barrel is toasted for 10 minutes and charred for 25 seconds. Toasting applies heat to the inside of a barrel without lighting it on fire, whereas charring lights the inside on fire. The bourbon is aged anywhere from 6 to 12 months.

Nose – 93 out of 100 Points

It’s the sassafras for me. It reminds me of picking up a bottle of root beer at an old country store. Lots of chocolate. Lots of baking spice. Vanilla and charred oak round out a rich nose.

Taste – 91 out of 100 Points

The taste is like enjoying a root beer float that’s melted. I also get some citrus that brightens things up. There’s also a spice that rounds out the cola sweetness. Delicious but the palate is a bit thin. Only complaint.

Finish – 92 out of 100 Points

Medium finish that’s peppery with nice leather and root beer sweetness that’s perfectly balanced.

Complexity – 93 out of 100 Points

That second barrel and additional age add layers of sweet cola complexity and depth that’s hard to beat.

Value – 94 out of 100 Points

Double Oaked is just north of $50. It is also offered as a single barrel. On its own, Double Oaked is a gold-ranked bourbon, but if you can imagine I’ve had single barrels that have been even better. Obviously, the value is in its availability, reasonable price, and unique production value with the second barrel.

Verdict – Gold 92.6 out of 100 Points

The Bourbon Bard Gold Medal

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Woodford Reserve Batch Proof 2019 Review

Woodford Reserve Batch Proof 2019

This release of Woodford Reserve Batch Proof is 123.2 proof. I tasted this blind. A local friend (thanks Kyle) sent me this as a mystery sample.

Nose – 90 out of 100 Points

Berry honey, caramel, some leather, and barrel char.

Taste – 94 out of 100 Points

Tart cherries, Szechuan peppercorn, barrel char, vanilla, and honey at the back of the palate. Just subtle leather at the back that works well with the sweet notes.

Finish – 93 out of 100 Points

Medium to long finish. More of that sweet and spice. Consistent drinking experience with a ton of complexity.

Complexity – 93 out of 100 Points

Woodford Reserve Batch Proof surprised me. I was not expecting that level of depth and complexity. I had been nose up to Woodford’s Batch Proof and clearly, I’ve been missing out.

Value – 90 out of 100 Points

Woodford Reserve Batch Proof retails for $130 — that’s the rub. The price was a turn-off for me before tasting it. But it’s so damn delicious. It’s a buy when you see it on the shelf for me. But I’d be a buy it begrudgingly wishing it were a bit cheaper. If this bourbon was south of $100, the value would be off the charts.

Verdict – Silver 92 out of 100 Points

The Bourbon Bard Silver Medal

Woodford Reserve Rye Whiskey Review

Woodford Reserve Rye Whiskey

Wow, I did not expect the interesting flavors present from Woodford Reserve Rye Whiskey.

Nose – 88 out of 100 Points

Subtle floral notes and toasted oak are the primary flavors. I’m also picking up pear and sweet cinnamon. Maybe just a hint of white pepper.

Taste – 92 out of 100 Points

The front of the palate is kind of creamy like a horchata with white fruit mixed in. Mid-palate is buttery and sweet — light caramel and buttered corn. Rye spice and pepper show up back of the palate. I find this palate intriguing and refreshing.

Finish – 93 out of 100 Points

It’s a solid medium finish. It offers a nice white pepper spice. Subtle sweet creaminess — vanilla, honey, and tangy goat cheese.

Complexity – 93 out of 100 Points

53% rye mash contrasts with the deluge of 95% MGP rye mashes on the market. The nose worried me. It was subtle to a fault but the palate and finish wowed.

Value – 93 out of 100 Points

It’s under $40 which is a steal in my opinion. It is a Maryland-style rye whiskey with just 53% rye in its mashbill. I’ve seen some complaints that it doesn’t taste enough like a rye, but personally I’m bored with the 95/5 rye mashbill that all taste the same.

Verdict – Silver 91.8 out of 100 Points

The Bourbon Bard Silver Medal

Woodford Reserve Wheat Whiskey Review

Woodford Reserve Wheat Whiskey

Woodford’s Wheat Whiskey ain’t your Pappy or Weller wheated whiskey. Read our review to find out why and if that’s a good thing.

Nose – 87 out of 100 Points

Hazelnut, white chocolate, and vanilla with white pepper, burnt oak, and sugary plums.

Taste – 89 out of 100 Points

The palate offers a bread-like quality to the palate like Portuguese sweet rolls my pops makes. I pick up more creamy hazelnut, light caramel, and charred oak.

Finish – 90 out of 100 Points

Medium finish. Blooming oak and peppercorn. Sweet honey.

Complexity – 89 out of 100 Points

The mashbill makes this wheated whiskey unique. It’s a four grain mash with 52% wheat followed by 21% malted barley, 18% corn, and 8% rye. Does the four grain mash add complexity though? It pays off in my opinion.

Woodford Reserve Wheat is priced under $40. Other comparables in the wheated category would be Weller Special Reserve which I prefer but where Woodford Wheated wins is availability. For whiskey drinkers who prefer the wheated mashbill but decry how hard some of the prominent players are to find Woodford Wheated should satiate your wheated longings.

Verdict – Silver 88.6 out of 100 Points

The Bourbon Bard Silver Medal

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Woodford Reserve Malt Whiskey Review

Woodford Reserve Malt Whiskey

Full review coming soon. Tasting notes provided by Woodford Reserve.

Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection Guide

Woodford Reserve Master's Collection

Master’s Collection is a nod to the innovation at the original distillery founded at Woodford in 1812. However, starting in 2020, they will also focus forward on the innovation with master distiller Chris Morris and assistant master distiller Elizabeth McCall.

“The name Very Fine Rare Bourbon is a nod to the descriptors used by our ancestors to auction highly-aged Bourbon barrel lots,” Morris said. “While Woodford Reserve will always honor the past, this Master’s Collection is about the present and future.”

As of 2021, Woodford has released 15 editions of their Master’s Collection.

 

Woodford Reserve Baccarat Edition Review

Woodford Reserve Baccarat Edition - XO Cognac Finished

Woodford’s Baccarat Edition release is a major flex for the high-end whiskey geeks. They finished their Kentucky Bourbon in XO Cognac barrels. Each finishing casks has been through three seasons of cognac then filled with Woodford’s bourbon. Tasting notes provided by Woodford Reserve.

Woodford Reserve Distillery Series

Woodford Reserve Master Distiller Chris Morris describes this series, “We have decided to share the creativity of our new successful experiments by producing small batches of product that will be sold at the Distillery Visitor’s Center. So, if you want a Distillery Series product you have to come to Woodford Reserve. . . . This is fun. This is celebrating the creativity and innovation of Oscar Pepper and James Christopher Crow.”

This series is only offered at Woodford Reserve Distillery, in 375 mL, and are priced at $50 each.

  • Double Double Oaked 2015
  • Sweet Mash Redux 2015
  • Frosty Four Wood 2016
  • 5 Malt Whiskey 2016
  • Double Double Oaked 2017
  • Blended Rye Whiskey 2017
  • Toasted Oak Rye 2017
  • French Oak Cask Finished Rye 2017
  • Double Double Oaked 2018
  • Barrel Finished Rye 2018
  • Bottled in Bond 2018
  • Double Double Oaked 2019
  • Three Grain 2019
  • Brandy Cask Finish 2019
  • Double Double Oaked 2020
  • Five Wood 2020
  • Four Grain 2020
  • Double Double Oaked 2021

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About Matty Sims

Written by Matty Sims

Matty Sims is a storyteller who loves bourbon. He has been drinking and studying whiskey for over 10 years. He has also been featured on sites like Bourbon Sippers, Explore Whiskey, Thrive Global and Inside Hook, partnered with dozens of distilleries, and reviewed hundreds of whiskeys. He has also created single barrel stickers for Bourbon Pursuit and Total Wine.
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