Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
flahute

BOTM 9/20 Woodford Reserve

Recommended Posts

flahute

After a one month break we are back with a new BOTM. 

It's been 6 years since we last discussed this and I thought it would be appropriate to bring it back on this day for the running of the delayed Kentucky Derby since WR is the presenting sponsor of the Derby.

 

Woodford is one that never gets a lot of airplay here on SB. I think smokinjoe and I talk about it the most and it's usually when we are flying Delta.

I actually don't have a bottle on hand (need to rectify that) so I'll be going off memory.

A lot of folks get a copper penny flavor in WR that they don't like. For you newcomers not fully versed in WR minutiae, the distillery know as WR in Versailles only distills a small part of what goes into the blend. Those big copper pot stills sure are pretty but as a vessel for distilling bourbon they are less than ideal. The small amount of that distillate that goes into the blend is enough to ruin it for many. The rest of the whiskey that goes into the blend comes from Old Forester in Shively.

 

Aside - about 5 years ago my group did a "barrel pick" at WR. Since they don't have a single barrel product they won't do a single barrel pick so it's actually a bland of two barrels. They start you out with 6 single barrel samples. After selecting your top three, they do all of the possible two barrel blend permutations and you select from those.

Interesting discovery on this pick: we tasted the six single barrels blind and upon the reveal my two worst rated barrels were from the copper pot stills. I actually hated them. Some people did like them however but not many. We then tasted the blends blind and the one that was the clear winner (my first choice) contained only Old Forester whiskey. I was pretty excited about this pick. Unfortunately, there was some weird miscommunication and WR thought we didn't want our blend and before we could straighten that out, they had dumped our barrels.

 

Back the primary product: when this first came out it was considered a premium product. I've noticed over the years that as other bourbons have increased in price and new releases start at even higher prices that WR has generally held the line on their pricing. This puts them into the value category for me.

So why do I not have one on hand? I still suffer from old bourbon nerd prejudices influencing my subconscious when I'm at the liquor store.

As mentioned above, I always look forward to my Woodford when flying. I truly enjoy it. I don't get the copper penny note so for me WR is a nice variation in the overall BF portfolio. And it's always available. I'm going out to get one today for the mint juleps I'll be making later for the Derby.

  • I like it 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ebo

I like Woodford. I rarely buy it, but I have nothing against it. I just think there are comparable bourbons for less money. 

  • I like it 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
PaulO

That's an interesting story Steve.

I had read years ago (probably on this site) that it took more time than B-F had accounted for to get the pot still up and running.  The original batch and those that continued for a while were all 100% honey barrels from Old Forester in Louisville.

I used to buy WR now and then.  I finally gave up because I just couldn't fully enjoy it with the slightly metallic taste sneaking up in the finish.

Several Christmases ago, my brother and his wife gave me a store pick from Big Red Liquors.  What do you know, no copper penny.  It was like a slightly drier Old Forester - nice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Swamp55

Woodford Reserve and Maker's Mark were my original "gateway bourbons" a number of years ago. They brought me over from Canadian and blended whiskies. For that, I will be eternally grateful!

 

While I only rarely drink WR neat anymore, I find it does well in cocktails with fruit juices, lemonade in particular. (Look up the recipe for the official drink of the Belmont Stakes horse race, called the Belmont Jewel; very tasty!) 

 

Today, for the Derby, the wife and I are sipping on some good ol' WR over big ice cubes. Hey, this stuff is still pretty darn good! (Not to mention cheap and available everywhere!) 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
fishnbowljoe
5 hours ago, PaulO said:

That's an interesting story Steve.

I had read years ago (probably on this site) that it took more time than B-F had accounted for to get the pot still up and running.  The original batch and those that continued for a while were all 100% honey barrels from Old Forester in Louisville.

I used to buy WR now and then.  I finally gave up because I just couldn't fully enjoy it with the slightly metallic taste sneaking up in the finish.

Several Christmases ago, my brother and his wife gave me a store pick from Big Red Liquors.  What do you know, no copper penny.  It was like a slightly drier Old Forester - nice.

Bingo PaulO! I thought WR was okay until I stumbled on some bottles from very early batches. I still have a Lincoln Henderson Batch #38. The flavor from those older batches was unmistakably BF, Old Forester. I tried a few bottles of WR later on, but eventually gave up on trying to like it.

 

Biba! Joe
 

  • I like it 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jazz June

Back when Jim Beam White was my typical bourbon, Woodford Reserve was the “good stuff.” I definitely purchased a fair few bottles of it, continuing on even when Maker’s Mark became my go to. Pre-Covid, I would end up drinking it at open bar events but have not purchased it in a while. I don’t have a problem with it and agree it is more of a mid-tier product in today’s bourbon landscape, but it just doesn’t grab my attention any more. And I like a high proof bourbon for my Juleps.


The distillery itself is absolutely gorgeous and I love the history with James Crow and the various members of the Pepper family. I have said it here before, but will say again that B-F should buy the Old Crow brand from Suntroy and make it in Versailles (and make it better).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
geclbxf

Thank you for the timeliness of this thread!   Woodford was my Gateway bourbon as well, thank to my wife!    That was 5+ years ago.   We also call it our Getaway bourbon, both for the airline bottles as well as being a staple of most out of the country bars.   You go to the DR, or places like that - everyone has Woodford and knows what it is.

 

We too dived in deep with a 1.75 for the Derby Saturday with 7 of us social distancing and watching it outside on a projector.   We featured the Woodford Spire whish is very similar to the Belmont jewel, and of course Julips.    Fun was had by all, and the drinks were even better.    I agree that it is a solid product that has its flaws.    I too have 2 different barrel picks and really like the outcome compared to the standard product.

 

Just wish my 15-18 superfecta would have held up boxed.   Close.........

  • I like it 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
B.B. Babington

I used to get a fair bit of Woodford.  Still always keep a few bottles on hand.  I like the different flavor profile compared the all the rest.  Love their Derby bottles.  I used to get each Master Collection but no longer do so.  Have maybe ten different masters on hand.  The only big success was the universal fav Seasoned Oak which is now pretty much the Double Oaked regular release.  I liked one most people hate, Maple Finished; it's stout to say the least.

  • I like it 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
beasled

I always have a bottle of Woodford around somewhere, as it was my first foray into whiskey many moons ago I like to go back to it.

 

If an alien landed on earth and I had to describe what bourbon was then I'd pour them a WR. Not because I think it is particularly nuanced or the best of the best, but to me I think it does a great job at bringing bourbon to a massive audience without being too simplified, like JB white or something. I like JB white too, but you know what I mean. 

 

It is usually a shining beacon of hope on bars devoid of anything else, in these 80 proof parts at least. 

  • I like it 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
dcbt

I rarely buy a bottle for my home bar, but I am very pleased that American Airlines carries it on their flights.  It's my go to when in the air.  Granted, there really is no other option other than JD, but it was a pleasant surprise when they added it several years back.  Then again, I hear Southwest carries WT101, which would be even better.

  • I like it 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BigRich
1 hour ago, dcbt said:

I rarely buy a bottle for my home bar, but I am very pleased that American Airlines carries it on their flights.  It's my go to when in the air.  Granted, there really is no other option other than JD, but it was a pleasant surprise when they added it several years back.  Then again, I hear Southwest carries WT101, which would be even better.

Same here.  It's my Delta pour. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
PaulO

Has anyone tried the Woodford Reserve Straight Rye?  I didn't find it here using the search function.  I see the proof is 90.4 and price the same as WR Bourbon.  Several stores near me have it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Paddy

^^^^I’ve gone through a few of them.  It’s a easy sipping rye,

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jazz June
13 hours ago, PaulO said:

Has anyone tried the Woodford Reserve Straight Rye?  I didn't find it here using the search function.  I see the proof is 90.4 and price the same as WR Bourbon.  Several stores near me have it.

 

I drank through a bottle years ago and found it flat/boring. Not offensive, but just lacking in any particular character. It would probably be fine in a cocktail, but even then you can get better cocktail rye for cheaper.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jazzhead

WR is to Brown Forman as Basil Hayden is to Beam.    Premium presentation at a lower proof.    Both make great beach pours.   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
dad-proof

4-5 years ago I never would've seen it coming, but I currently enjoy a wider variety B-F than any other house: OF Whisky Row Series (Statesman, 1897, and 1920), OF100, Early Times BIB, JD SBBP,  and even the JD Tennessee Tasters’ Barrel Proof Rye. It's been years since I've tried WR outside of a Delta flight, but this thread has put me in the mood. Will soon make use of the drive-thru at my local!

  • I like it 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
dad-proof

I didn't commit to a 750, but it has been an easy drinker the last couple of days. WR may be the Honda Accord of Bourbon. Above average, dependable, and well made, but not one to get the passions stirred.

 

PXL_20200920_000219370.thumb.jpg.8e981d21efacc8c46b2f4205201d4f96.jpg

Edited by dad-proof
.
  • I like it 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
flahute
1 hour ago, dad-proof said:

I didn't commit to a 750, but it has been an easy drinker the last couple of days. WR may be the Honda Accord of Bourbon. Above average, dependable, and well made, but not one to get the passions stirred.

 

PXL_20200920_000219370.thumb.jpg.8e981d21efacc8c46b2f4205201d4f96.jpg

The Honda Accord of bourbon! This is perfect.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BDanner

Ehhhhhh, just something about the Brown Foreman Bourbon profile that just doesn't hit my palate right 8 out of 10 times.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
M777

This was my gateway bourbon many years ago. Last time I bought regular woodford was back in 2015 when a store had them marked down to $22, loaded up and used them in old fashioneds. I honestly prefer the taste profile of jts brown 100 proof for $18 a pop over woodford. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
smokinjoe

Like Steve and Rich, Woodford is my Delta Air bourbon.  Always enjoyable after a biz trip.  I’ve also had a couple of bottles over the last year, and enjoy it at ground level as well. Definitely, Woodford has changed the mix to less Versailles pot still and more Shively column over the years, to the benefit of its overall appeal.  Pot stills are pretty, but columns rules in bourbon distillation.  This said,  I had developed an affinity for the early WR (after all Shively at the start) that had what I characterized as a “cantaloupe rind” influence from the pot still component.  It gave it a very identifiable “house style”, which I think can be lacking among bourbon distilleries.  It wasn’t my favorite style in bourbons, but I did appreciate it for what it was (“good”, and with a twist). The current is “better” in overall drinkability aspects, but I would also say the older had more “character”.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.