Review: Woodford Reserve Batch Proof 2020

Photo courtesy of Woodford Reserve

In my very early whiskey drinking days, Woodford Reserve was my first “premium” bourbon. This came after a while of drinking Jack Daniel’s and Evan Williams. Spending close to $30 for a bottle required some thought. Would I like it? Is it worth it? After all, good bourbon shouldn’t cost more than $25. Oh, to be in that mindset again. As expected, I fell in love with Woodford Reserve. It’s been a staple in my household since.

Years later, the brand expanded its offerings with a Double Oaked bourbon, rye whiskey, wheat whiskey, and malt whiskey. Then there’s their Master’s Collection and Distillery Series where the brand’s whiskey makers experiment with the whiskey making process. Notably missing from the lineup was a cask strength whiskey. Enter Woodford Reserve Batch Proof.

The 2020 edition of Woodford Reserve Batch Proof comes in at 123.6 proof, a far cry from the 90.4 proof of the standard expression. The extra proof amplifies the vanilla and sweet caramel notes, especially in the nose. Additional hints of buttered cornbread, oak spice, and dark chocolate round out the nose. The palate – wow. Juicy red fruit, toasted oak, and orange peel complement layers of brown sugar and vanilla. A feint cognac-like raisiny note sits on the back palate. The medium finish features refreshing spearmint.

Again – wow.

Woodford Reserve Batch Proof isn’t just a more intense version of their standard Distiller’s Select bourbon. Sure, the flavors are bolder, but the higher proof helps accentuate certain notes and downplay others. Oddly enough, the lack of spicy rye punch comes as a bit of surprise. It’s in there, but you really have to search for it. Minor criticism aside, Woodford Reserve Batch Proof is high proof bourbon worthy of its $130 price tag. A little on the expensive side, but highly recommended for those in search of a complex whiskey with a great depth of flavor.

Thanks to Woodford Reserve for the sample. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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