Woodford Reserve Bourbon Review (KY Derby)

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Buckle up and enjoy this Woodford Reserve Bourbon review. Everyone knows about Woodford Reserve Bourbon. It’s on the shelf at every liquor store and probably every bar you’ve ever been in. It’s popular because it’s good quality bourbon for an affordable price. But how many people ever stop to take a closer look at the Woodford Distiller’s Select in their glass? Don’t worry, we’ve done it for you!

Getting to Know Woodford Reserve Bourbon

Woodford Reserve is a brand that is owned by Brown-Foreman, one of the largest American-owned spirits companies in the world. Other Brown-Foreman bourbons include the Old Forester brands and Jack Daniels.

The Woodford brand itself was started in 1996 when the company realized it needed a new “premium” brand of bourbon on the market. Remember, bourbon fans, this is well before the bourbon boom that we are presently in. The brown spirits market was just beginning to pick up after the vodka craze of the ‘80s and ‘90s.

Brown-Forman purchased the old Labrot & Graham Distillery a few years prior to beginning to make Woodford Reserve. The distillery opened in 1780 and is one of the most beautiful and idyllic stops on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. If you have the chance to stop at Woodford Reserve, do it. You’ll fall in love with the stone rickhouses and rolling countryside.

Despite the brand’s relative youth in the bourbon marketplace, the Woodford Reserve bourbon has established itself as a major player in the market. Woodford is due to sell its one-millionth case of bourbon in the year 2020. Also, Woodford Reserve is the official bourbon of Churchill Downs, the home of the Kentucky Derby.

Woodford Reserve Bourbon Review

Let’s get to the review.

The whiskey inside the bottle has a mash bill of around 72 percent corn, 18 percent rye, and 10 percent malted barley. This could be considered a “high rye” bourbon, although the brand is not marketed as one. Woodford Reserve bourbon is batched with 100 barrels at a time and is aged for just over seven years, on average, before being bottled.

Woodford Reserve has a classic bourbon profile. On the nose, the bourbon emits notes of vanilla, honey and a bit of oak. When nosing the glass, you’ll also get subtle notes of dark chocolate, cinnamon, and orange zest. It’s a really pleasant nose that will make any bourbon lover feel right at home.

Moving on to the palate, you’ll notice some weaknesses. Everything you’ll taste seems a bit muted and thin. Sure, there’s that vanilla and oak again, but it’s subtle and leaves you wanting more. If you were drinking this without knowing the proof, you’d probably think it was only 80 proof. Alas, that’s the real disappointment in this whiskey. It’s just not big enough nor bold enough.

The finish on this whiskey gives you notes of oak, leather, and a bit of tobacco. What’s noticeable about the finish is that, while the nose and palate were sweet, the finish is rather dry and almost smoky. It’s not bad, just unexpected. The finish is medium in length.

Woodford Reserve Bourbon Review from Instagram Whiskey Lovers

You’ve read what we think, now let’s hear what others have to say.

From @the_world_of_whiskey_uk:

Woodford Reserve Bourbon Review
Woodford Reserve Bourbon | Image Credit: @the_world_of_whiskey_uk

“A bit of Woodford Reserve to kick off the Christmas Evening with a nice warm bourbon cuddle Woodford is always a great everyday drinker for me; not too sharp, a great flavor with hints of chocolate, caramel, toffee and a touch of spice with a smooth and creamy finish What Woodford Reserve bottles you have? I hope everyone had an amazing Christmas and hope to work with as many of you as I can in 2020. Raise a glass” – @the_world_of_whiskey_uk

@new_cigar_guy says:

Image by @new_cigar_guy
Woodford Reserve Bourbon | Image Credit: @new_cigar_guy

“Been enjoying the Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select this weekend. I forgot how easy drinking this is…yet has enough going on to keep you interested. Just not fond of the Canadian price point.”– @new_cigar_guy

From @whiskeyworldwide:

Woodford Reserve Bourbon Review
Woodford Reserve Bourbon | Image Credit: @whiskeyworldwide

APPEARANCE: Clean, brilliant honey amber. NOSE: Heavy with rich dried fruit, hints of mint and oranges covered with a dusting of cocoa. Faint vanilla and tobacco spice.

TASTE: Rich, chewy, rounded, and smooth, with complex citrus, cinnamon, and cocoa. Toffee, caramel, chocolate, and spice notes abound.

FINISH: Silky smooth, almost creamy at first with a long, warm satisfying tail. @woodfordreserve” – @whiskeyworldwide

Wrapping Up

Overall, Woodford Reserve is a fine bourbon. You can drink it anytime and you won’t be surprised or challenged. It’s a good everyday drinker or cocktail bourbon, and at between $30-$35 you won’t be breaking the bank buying a bottle. Which of your favorite cocktails could you see putting Woodford Reserve bourbon in?

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