Friday, June 16, 2017

Whiskey Review: Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon

Kentucky Straight Bourbon



Age Statement

"Nose" (undiluted)
Rich, luxuriant, sweet vanilla, charcoal and dandelion.

"Palate" (undiluted)
Lots of vanilla! More charcoal, spice and ginger accompanies a wonderful sweetness (but not too sweet) that flows towards a floral finish.  A complex arrangement of flavors that can appropriately be described as sophisticated and rich. Mid to late palate there is a distinct candycane and angostura bitters note.

"Finish" (undiluted)
Oak and spicy rye linger on the palate in a highly refined manner for a very long time.

General Impressions
Highly recommended! But, not for the whiskey novice and particularly bourbons. This whisky has a very robust flavor profile featuring big oak, charcoal that may not be to everyone's taste. The finish is very long leaving flavors of spiced oak, charcoal and candy cane. The ginger and candy cane contribute to a unique flavor profile that some may not enjoy.   Also I find that this bourbon does not benefit from the addition of water in spite of the high ABV. More, I think about it, this bourbon is for the serious American whisky fan looking for something a little different.  The ginger and candy cane notes are very unique and not found in any other bourbon I know of.


Jason Debly


  1. Thanks Jason... Always walk past this one ....curious....Down here it's 40 % abv... Not happy.... Knowing it's been diluted for our market... Probably won't go for it.
    AL (from OZ)

    1. It seems that bourbon producers export diluted versions of their products. Jim Beam also does this.

      Woodford reserve would be a very different bourbon at 40% and not for the better. It is very oakey and charcoal that sets it apart from other bourbons and some may not like this.

      Yeah, at 40% definitely pass on this.

  2. Congratulations on being a judge at the 2017 whisky awards. Is a whisky only eligible for one category and then the winners considered for 'Best'? Thanks.

  3. I've found this brand to vary in taste profile over the years. So after reading your review, I had to open one of my bottles for a reacquaintance. It was as you described, which surprised me. I thought older versions were a little lighter on the charcoal with a medium length finish. I enjoyed this one a bit more.

    1. You are correct. In the past, this bourbon has had problems with quality assurance and some bottles were off to awful. I know, I bought several and wrote about it.

      However, in the last say 4 years I have noticed quality control is much better and that has translated into a more consistent flavor profile or house style.

      This bourbon is really big on the charcoal and oak. For those who like lots of corn sweetness and prominent rye, then Woodford is not where they should be.

      It is a very distinct bourbon. I like it.

      Thank you for commenting!

  4. Nice review. I am surprised you found the taste as bold as you did. While I enjoy the basic Woodford, I don't find it bold, perhaps complex, but not bold. Their Double Oaked, now that's a different story.