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  1. #1
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Sep 1999
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    Chicago
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    My Woodford Reserve Visit

    Thanks to everyone who provided questions for my Woodford Reserve visit. They (Chris Morris and Dave Scheurich) were very generous with their time and very forthcoming with information.

    I got a lot of information, which I need time to process. It will be an article in The Bourbon Country Reader and maybe some other places too.

    Here are a couple of highlights or, if you will, teases.

    The batch numbers on the label are real. They represent bottling batches. The bottle numbers are real as well. The batch size changed recently with the addition of some new, larger dump tanks. A batch was approximately 6,000 bottles, now it's 30,000.

    Whiskey made at the Woodford County distillery began to be included in the product on May 19, 2003. Some of batch 89 contained the pot distilled whiskey but every bottle in batch 90 and beyond has contained the Woodford County, pot distilled whiskey.

    Every batch of Woodford Reserve contains at least 25 percent pot distilled whiskey and as much as 75 percent and, of course, corresponding proportions of Jefferson County column distilled whiskey.

    The Jefferson County distillery is no longer called Early Times. It is simply the Brown-Forman Distillery, which has the unfortunate initials of BFD.

    Both whiskies are more than seven years old. Jefferson County "honey barrels" are selected at about four years and transferred to the rackhouses at Woodford to complete their aging there.

    More to come.

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

    Thanks, Chuck. I noted the change (much for the better) on these boards at, if I am not mistaken, precisely batch 90. The change was remarkable and unmistakeable. Kudos for unearthing all this information and to Chris Morris and his team for disclosing it. I look forward to my next issue of the Reader, but then I always look forward to it.

    Gary

  3. #3
    Bourbonian of the Year 2006
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    Dec 2001
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    Rockland County, NY
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    1,937

    Re: My Woodford Reserve Visit

    Chuck,
    Thanks for getting to the bottom of the Woodford Mysteries.
    I am intrigued by the 25% plus or minus percent of Pot still. Did you get to taste the barrel proof potstill vs the Jefferson County?
    Thanks for getting Rid of the Batch number thats been stuck in my shoes.

  4. #4
    Connoisseur
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    Feb 2000
    Location
    Florida
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    516

    Re: My Woodford Reserve Visit


    Chuck,

    So, can one argue that Woodford has become a blended whiskey?

    Omar

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

    We tasted barrel proof pot still whiskey as well as new make. The barreled whiskey we tasted by running around the warehouse, looking for barrels of different ages and drilling them to get a sample. Everything we tasted was good except for one sample from, I believe, a 2002 barrel. It wasn't bad but had a strong, oily taste the other samples lacked. Chris and Dave agreed and said they hoped it would "age out." All of the rest were very good but all distinctly different.

    The 25 to 75 percent comes from the fact that every batch is created using whiskey from at least four different production dates, and both distilleries must be represented. So a given batch might be 25/75 one way or the other, or 50/50, but never 0/100.

  6. #6
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: My Woodford Reserve Visit

    Absolutely not. In fact, many bourbons are mixtures of bourbons produced at more than one distillery, Jim Beam White Label being the perfect example. Read the regs:

    "Bourbon whisky" ... is whisky produced at not exceeding 160 proof (etc.)... and also includes mixtures of such whiskies of the same type.
    A straight whiskey can be a mixture of straight whiskies, so long as all of the whiskies in the mixture are of the same type (e.g., bourbon) and, for some reason, all produced in the same state. By contrast, a bonded whiskey must be the product of a single distiller, distillery and distilling season.

  7. #7
    Connoisseur
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    Nov 2003
    Location
    Birmingham, AL
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    540

    Re: My Woodford Reserve Visit

    Thanks, Chuck, for including us on your visit (with your first posting asking for questions) and sharing your findings. I look forward to reading more when I receive my first BOURBON COUNTRY READER.

  8. #8
    Enthusiast
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    Mar 2004
    Location
    virginia
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    441

    Re: My Woodford Reserve Visit

    Thanks for the great info, Chuck!

  9. #9
    Connoisseur
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Virginia
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    621

    Re: My Woodford Reserve Visit

    Now I'm really bummed, because that bottle I hated so much evidently falls in the post-pot-still batch numbers.

  10. #10
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Sep 2002
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    Toronto, Canada
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    9,120

    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). Also too, Woodford Reserve, pot still or no, has a particular profile and maybe it just doesn't suit your taste preference. We must remember that column stills can be and are operated in bourbon country to produce effects not all that different from a first pot distillation - it is the proof of distillation mainly that matters to the flavour - so not liking this particular contribution of pot still to flavor is neither here nor there.

    Gary

 

 

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