Woodford Reserve was the first premium bourbon I really enjoyed when I “graduated” from Jack Daniel’s. I later learned Woodford Reserve is from the same family: Brown-Forman. Brown-Forman owns Jack Daniel’s, Woodford Reserve and Old Forester. Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey and Old Forester bourbon have been around forever, whereas Woodford Reserve came to market in the mid-1990s.
The minimalist bottle is easy to find on the shelves. Master Distiller Chris Morris even gives us a batch and bottle number on the small tan label. The ‘Labrot & Graham’ etched above the ‘Woodford Reserve’ on the bottle is the name the distillery was formerly known as many many years ago.
Coming in at 90.4 proof, Woodford Reserve has high rye content. It’s evident on the nose, along with vanilla, toffee and caramel. I get some of that rye spice on the palate. There’s also caramel, maple syrup, cinnamon and light char. The char comes on the back end. The finish is medium and sweet. Woodford Reserve has a lighter body than I’d like, but it carries an overall nice flavor.
I almost always have a bottle of Woodford Reserve on hand. It’s nice neat, on the rocks and in an old-fashioned. The brand promotes a Manhattan cocktail made with Woodford Reserve. I haven’t tried it yet, so I can’t comment. The old-fashioned cocktail I’ve made many times with this bourbon is quite tasty. For $30+ a bottle, I’d recommend picking one up. Keep an eye out for a limited edition bottle design close to the Kentucky Derby.