Review of the Month: The Woodford Reserve review
Company: Brown Forman
Classification: Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Breakdown: 72% corn, 18% rye, 10% malted barley
Price: c. £30
Our review of the month this month is originally from October 14th 2016. So what has changed in close to 2 years in terms of our thoughts on Woodford Reserve? It is still everywhere you go in the UK and we would go as far as saying that just behind Jack Daniel’s, and Jim Beam White Label, it is probably the 3rd most popular offering in UK restaurants, bars and supermarkets. The price has also held firm in this time, still around £30 a bottle. Only time will tell whether, with the onset of tariff wars and Brexit, this excellent price continues to be maintained.
The Gents remain vocal to anyone who will listen to us that this is perfect starter for anyone just starting to fall for American whiskey. When your collection of bourbons become larger than average you sometimes forget about the ones you’ve had the shelves from day one. Reading our tasting notes below makes you want to go and pour one out this minute (where’s my glass?). Since this review we’ve now tried their rye whiskey and Mav even got a small mortgage out and plumped to buy a bottle of Woodford Reserve Classic Malt (our review). We are also very excited in our anticipation of seeking out and trying Woodford Reserve Batch Proof (if of course our credit card limits allow).
So there you have it, read below what we thought about Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select and let us know your thoughts in the comments section about any of the Woodford Reserve offerings you have tried.
An extremely high profile bourbon (virtually in every bar and supermarket in the UK) and Woodford certainly have a high profile master distiller too. Chris Morris is not shy of the camera and is a true innovator in the bourbon world. He began his career in bourbon in 1976 starting as a trainee in Brown Forman’s lab. From 1997 he was understudy to the late Lincoln Henderson (who became the master distiller of Angels Envy) before becoming Master Distiller in 2003.
The Woodford Reserve distillery was formerly known as the Labrot & Graham distillery (the name is still visible on their bottles today) and before that, the Old Oscar Pepper distillery. The site has over 200 year’s history of distillation.
They report on their website that their bourbon is comprised of more than 200 detectable flavour notes, from bold grain and wood to sweet aromatics, spice, and fruit & floral notes. 200 detectable flavour notes? The Bourbon Gents have a long way to go!!
Alongside the standard bourbon are a regular rye whiskey and an ever-changing selection called the Master’s Collection. This currently includes 1838 Style White Corn, Sonoma Cutrer Pinot Noir Finish (mature Woodford finished in Pinot Noir barrels), Classic Malt, Straight Malt and a Four Wood bourbon aged in American oak and finished in maple wood, sherry wood and port wood barrels.
For this review we drank it neat in a Glencairn glass
What we got - Creamy, buttery, medicinal (Mr. Pie), spice, liquorice (Mav), fills your nostril with a powerfully pleasant pungent aroma
What they say we should get - Quite thick and creamy. There are notes of honey and spice, leather, a touch of cocoa, and a little smoke, toasty oak and vanilla cream with a hint of butterscotch
What we got – Spice heavy rye, full-bodied, full creamy and oily texture, a little more sweetness on the palate than the nose (Mr. Pie, opposite to Mav) nutty (Mav), popcorn (Mr. Pie)
What they say we should get - Thick and full. There are notes of espresso beans, winter spice, cereal sweetness, plenty of rye, ground ginger, almond oil, toasty oak and a little rum
What we got – Long lasting, mildly burning but not particularly harsh
What they say we should get - Long and mature with notes of cereals and toasty oaken spice
Without doubt, this is a fantastic introduction to the world of bourbon. If we are ever asked to recommend bourbon to someone who has not tried it before, or has only recently started drinking bourbon, this is usually in the top 3 recommendations. It is so easy to find and is available in every UK supermarket which was visited for our recent bourbon availability article which you can read here.
It is probably only 2nd to Jim Beam in the most number of bottles consumed by the Gents, and to be honest I had forgotten how good it is (Mr. Pie). Tasting notes compared pretty favourably with the experts, particularly with the creaminess and sweetness which we both found. Finish was certainly long and lasting. Not too sure about the toasty flavour which is reported by the experts in all 3 tasting sections.
Considering Mr. Pie is more of a rye fan than Mav, it was somewhat surprising that the expected scoring positions were reversed.
7 out of 10 - Mav
6 out of 10 – Mr. Pie