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  1. #1

    Woodford Reserve

    I am out of the house for a couple of weeks on business, and I picked up a bottle of Woodford Reserve to drink while I was away. I do not care for this bourbon. I have tried Maker's Mark, Blantons, Elmer T. Lee, Elijah Craig 12 YO, Eagle Rare 10 YO, Knob Creek, Bookers, and Pappy Van Winkel 20 YO.

    I like all of those, but this Woodford is missing something. It seems a little weak, even when I drink it neat. The flavor, while smooth, seems very plain to me. It has a bit of a medicinal flavor to it. This is the second most expensive bourbon I have purchased (after the PVW20, didn't buy a bottle of the Blantons or Bookers). Definately not worth the price.

    Curious what others think of this pour. I'm pretty disappointed. I expected something great.

    "Oh Bother!" said Pooh as he slapped another magazine in his AK-47...


  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    There are many fans of Woodford on this forum, but I am not one of them. I'd say it my least favorite of any reasonably high end bourbon. I don't understand its prestige or popularity either. If you're looking for a new purchase, I'd try Van Winkle 12 Lot B or a Black Maple Hill. Happy Hunting.

    If you do have a bottle of woodford and do want to drink it so not to waste the money, IMO the most palatable way is to drink it on the rocks with a lemon twist and bruise it (shake it up with ice). Just a suggestion.

    To alcohol! The cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Eastern Pennsylvania
    Quote Originally Posted by TimmyBoston
    There are many fans of Woodford on this forum, but I am not one of them.
    Me too.
    Colonel Joseph B. "Bourbon Joe" Koch

    "Bourbon.....It's cheaper than therapy!!"

  4. #4
    Woodford Reserve was good early -- look for low batch numbers with Lincoln Henderson's signature -- but quite variable for the past several years. Run a search for titles containing "Woodford Reserve" and you'll get quite a number of returns. Here's one:

  5. #5
    Advanced Taster
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Indianapolis, IN
    I just got back from a bourbon tour and learned quite a bit from the tours and asking the right questions. When Brown Foreman decided to launch the WR brand, they went out of their way to pick the honey barrels from their warehouses. Over time, WR relies on these barrels much less and now uses primarily barrels distilled at the site. On top of all this, they do not rotate their barrels and use a/c and heaters to get consistency across their warehouse.

    Adding insult to injury, to learn this information you need to shell out $5 per person as WR is the only distillery that charges for a tour.

  6. #6
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Toronto, Canada
    Anyone with a bottle of WR that isn't to their taste might consider mixing it 50/50 with Old Forester (any proof but 100 won't hurt) or better yet, Birthday Bourbon. That will bring the taste closer to what it was in the earlier bottlings. I still buy WR though because I admire the effort to produce a whiskey mostly from pot stills. I am sure with time the taste profile will be adjusted and finalised as it were, maybe too as some of the inventory gets older they will be able to use older barrels to balance the heavy and full character. In other words I am assuming 8 year old barrels will be softer and less "whiskey-like" (or "congeneric", etc.) than the 4-5 year old barrels and when they have more old ones to use that will allow a batter presentation of the palate. But I like it now and it is good in particular in cocktails. Some modern bourbons are too bland for the classic whiskey drinks but WR is ideal.


  7. #7
    Advanced Taster
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Quote Originally Posted by TimmyBoston
    There are many fans of Woodford on this forum, but I am not one of them.
    Me three.

    I tried Woodford Reserve over a period of time and just was not impressed at all, particularly when price is factored in. I'd rather have a few bottles of EW 1783.

    Saturday night I was downtown
    Working for the FBI
    Sitting in a nest of bad men
    Whisky bottles piling high
    - The Hollies

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Spring Arbor, MI
    Yeah, Woodford Reserve has done a good job on the image front.
    But the bourbon is just OK,...well actually better than OK, but it should be priced in the Maker's, Turkey, and Craig range.

    Have you ever toured their distillery?
    I have been to 4 distillery tours, and the whole experience at Woodford was like a stuffy wine snob atmosphire.

    Their thing is specialty bottles, Our tour guide almost freaked out when I told him I drank my bottle of the Kentucky Derby 131 bottling. And he got real snotty when I called the unaged bourbon "White Dog",... later in the tour, when it came up again, he sneered at me with "White Dog as you call it." And I wasn't asking questions or diverting him from his little speeches.

    Woodford though, in my opinion, is the future of bourbon, more and more everyone will be coping each other and everything will taste the same.

    ahh,.......sorry if I got off topic.


  9. #9
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    WR does not a/c the warehouses but they do heat them in the winter.

    The tour guide who sneered at the term "white dog" was showing his ignorance. That term is used universally, including by the people who run WR.

    WR seems to be a love it or hate it proposition. I think some people find the pot still flavor so unfamiliar they reject it, even though pot stills have this romantic appeal.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Northern Kentucky
    Quote Originally Posted by cowdery
    I think some people find the pot still flavor so unfamiliar they reject it, even though pot stills have this romantic appeal.
    I'm not interested in romancing my pour.... I just want great taste.

    In my limited experience the pot stills add, at their best, nothing discernable to the best (a la WR) and at their worst, can produce truly awful results (my experience with WR Four-Grain).

    I think, for most drinkers, the pot still process is primarily marketing hype.
    John B

    "Drinking when we are not thirsty and making love at all seasons… that is all there is to distinguish us from other animals."



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