Review: Woodford Reserve Baccarat Edition

Photo courtesy of Woodford Reserve

2020 is almost over. Let me repeat that: 2020 is almost over. Sigh. I don’t know about you, but retail therapy was certainly present in my household this year. This rang true in two areas: guitars and whiskey. Did I really need to buy all those guitars this year? Of course not. I’m not even skilled in guitar playing. But whiskey, that’s something entirely different. I have an established whiskey blog that’s almost seven years old. So, it’s my job to buy lots of whiskey. At least that’s what I tell my wife.

So, if you’re in a 2020 non-stop buying spree or are in the market to buy a gift for the whiskey lover in your life “who has everything,” this release from Woodford Reserve might be up your alley.

Woodford Reserve Baccarat Edition is now available stateside. Yes, that’s the same Baccarat known for their fine crystal. Available previously as a travel retail exclusive, Woodford Reserve Baccarat Edition sees the Kentucky Bourbon finished in XO cognac casks for an additional three years.

Before I get to the tasting notes, I should mention the Baccarat crystal decanter is one of the loveliest I’ve ever seen. No surprising considering it is made by Baccarat.

The nose is loaded with dark fruit and baking spice as well as dark caramel and some oak spice. On the palate, the 90.4 proof whiskey ensures easy drinking. Don’t conflate “easy drinking” with “not complex”, because this bourbon blossoms nicely. The traditional Woodford Reserve notes – caramel, vanilla, spice – are complemented by ripe plum, oak spice, and tobacco. The medium-long finish carries a fruity sweetness that’s usually associated with cognac.

What a decadent release from Woodford Reserve! Bourbon whiskey and cognac casks play well together. Flavors and aromas complement each other beautifully. Woodford Reserve Baccarat Edition is available for an SRP of $2,000. This release is Woodford’s attempt to place bourbon on the same playing field as older, expensive single malts despite not carrying an age statement. It certainly holds its own in aroma and flavor, though the majority of the cost here is going to be that beautiful crystal decanter. Do NOT pass up an opportunity to try this one if the opportunity ever presents itself. You’ll be thankful you did.

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

Review: Hennessy Master Blender’s Selection No. 3


Hennessy just released the third entry to their Master Blender’s Selection series.  This one is the first blend from the company’s new Master Blender, Renaud Fillioux de Gironde.  Each blend in this collection is a one-off, using a variety of eaux-de-vie that carry unique notes or ones that don’t quite fit into the flavor profile of Hennessy’s other expressions.

Master Blender’s Selection is bottled at 43%.  This third edition is comprised of 20 eaux-de-vie that are at least seven years old.  They were aged in young barrels and transferred to older barrels for further maturation.

The aromatic nose showcases figs, baking spices, and toasted nuts.  It’s inviting and perfect on an autumn evening.  On the palate, this cognac is both rich and vibrant, featuring hints of dark caramel, pecans, figs, and some spice.  The finish is long and subtly dry, with lingering dried fruit and spice.

Fantastic.  I’m thoroughly impressed and am excited to see what Fillioux de Gironde does next.  The slightly higher ABV help deliver both heavy aromas and flavor notes, as well as the lighter, more delicate ones.  And, it pairs wonderfully with a mild-to-medium bodied cigar.  This unctuous blend from Hennessy comes highly recommended.  It’d be better to buy a bottle sooner than later, because once it’s gone… it’s gone forever.  9/10

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

Review: Joya de Nicaragua Antaño Gran Reserva Presidente

Joya de Nicaragua Antaño Gran Reserva Presidente celebrates the 50th anniversary of the TAA, the Tobacconist Association of America, with this exclusive release. Made of Nicaraguan tobacco aged 5 years, this 6 3/4 x 50 pressed cigar is an extension of the Antaño Gran Reserva brand.

This stick is full of wood spice and leather, with very slight hints of candied fruit. It’s a wonderfully balanced cigar that leads to a satisfying, hour-long smoke. Full bodied but not overpowering. I decided to pair it with Hennessy XO and I never looked back. The cognac’s big caramel and fruity palate complemented the cigar’s wood beautifully and brought out more of those leather notes.

This cigar is available to TAA members at $12.50 per stick and available in three other sizes: Robusto Grande Box-Pressed (5 1/2 x 52), Belicoso (6 x 54), and Gran Consul (4 3/4 x60).

Thanks to Joya de Nicaragua for the samples. As always, all thoughts and opinions are are my own.

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