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  1. #11
    Connoisseur
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    Re: My Woodford Reserve Visit

    Gary, that just goes to show that pot still whiskey is not the be all and end all of bourbon production, at least not in this case (although I like the effect a lot, just my taste).
    I guess I'm just deeply disappointed because I *REALLY* love the the potstill flavors that Irish whiskey has, so I was expecting WR to shine. If Batch 99 is characteristic of the "good stuff", I just have to resolve it with myself that WR just plain isn't for me.

  2. #12
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Sep 2002
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    Re: My Woodford Reserve Visit

    Well, I'd try once more, with one of the current batches (anything around 130 or so). In my view the pot still lends a depth, roundness and perfume that are quite unique, especially at relatively young ages. Each batch I have tried is somewhat different, in fact..

    Gary

  3. #13
    Administrator in exile
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    Aug 2002
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    3,904

    Re: My Woodford Reserve Visit

    I agree, try something later than the 90s. If you search for a 3-way tasting I did with WR, OF100 and OFBB, you'll see that I didn't think too highly of the WR. My impression has changed considerably with the newer batches. I'm also getting a lot of the "violet" floral tones that Gary is tasting. Give it one more try before you write it off forever.

  4. #14
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: My Woodford Reserve Visit

    I'm also getting a lot of the "violet" floral tones that Gary is tasting.
    That particular note was very apparent in the all-Woodford barrel samples we tasted.

  5. #15
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: My Woodford Reserve Visit

    One question that was asked here that I probably won't answer in The Reader is how long the pot stills at Labrot and Graham will last. Chris and Dave kind of brushed off the question with a joke, that they'll surely last until they've both retired and, after that, they don't care. However, an offhand estimate was another 15 years or so. Distillation itself takes a toll, as does the regular caustic rinses that are done to keep the stills clean inside.

  6. #16
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: My Woodford Reserve Visit

    Chuck, if the Reader addresses this please don't (honest) reply, but did they explain how they cook the mash without filtering it of its solids? I have visions of a large horizontal propeller in the wash still moving it around so it doesn't stick to the metal and burn up. I mean that only partly in jest since I understand the Scots use chains or something like that to agitate (even) a wash.

    Gary


  7. #17
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: My Woodford Reserve Visit

    The cooker at Woodford isn't any different than the cookers at any other bourbon distillery. They all use a motorized rake to keep the mash agitated so it doesn't solidify. The challenge was how to keep the grain solids from scorching in the first pot still, and for that answer you'll have to wait for The Reader.

  8. #18
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: My Woodford Reserve Visit

    I have a standing offer for anyone interested in my newsletter, The Bourbon Country Reader, that if you send me a self-addressed, stamped, #10 envelope I'll send you one free issue. Anyone interested in this whole Woodford Reserve, pot still vs. column still, Versailles vs. Louisville issue might want to take me up on it now, because the whole current issue (now in the mail) is devoted to what I learned on my trip there last week. The address is:

    Made and Bottled in Kentucky
    PMB 298, 3712 N. Broadway
    Chicago, IL 60613-4198

  9. #19
    Connoisseur
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    May 2003
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    Virginia
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    Re: My Woodford Reserve Visit

    Chuck, this is totally going to sound 'holier than thou', but I'm going to say it anyway: Woodford Reserve has lost my business. I don't care what olive branch they extend at this point, the bottom line is they've screwed around to the point where they really won't win me over without an outstanding product.

    First problem: the big "lie" at the distillery tour. A couple who is a good friend of the family did the WR tour two years ago and came away totally believing the stills they saw were producing the bourbon they brought home.

    Second problem: what Dave nailed right on the head: the continuously changing flavor profile. I've had three bottles of WR, one was outstanding, one was mediocre, and one even made ginger ale taste bad.

    I hate to toot my own horn, but there is a certain crowd who comes to me now and asks what the good bourbons are...and I must confess, WR ain't one of 'em at this point.

    They officially no longer get the benefit of my doubt.


  10. #20
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: My Woodford Reserve Visit

    Don't get me wrong. I'm not a apologist for Woodford Reserve. As for what's on the tour versus what's in the bottle, I think they may have been disingenuous but not dishonest, and since May of last year there has been a large component of whiskey made there in every bottle. As for the consistency issue, I've found them inconsistent but never worse that mediocre. Their consistency should be better going forward because they've increased the size of their bottling batch and worked the bugs out of mingling the two stocks.


    I'm just dispensing information. I'm not disputing your conclusions.

 

 

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