Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select
Review: Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select Whiskey 82/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on November 5, 2009
This is a Straight Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey, distilled and bottled at the Woodford Reserve Distillery in Versailles Kentucky. I have found no age statement on the bottle or on the Woodford Reserve Website. My belief is that the spirit is 6 to 8 years of age although where I gleaned this bit of information has been forgotten. Perhaps the shopkeeper who sold me the bottle mentioned it.
In the Bottle (4.5/5)
Woodford Reserve is sold in a handsome bottle with a nice solid wooden topped cork. Each bottle is personally numbered by both batch and bottle number. My bottle is from batch number 144, and is bottle number 07287. Apparently the bottling strength may vary from 43.2% to 45.2%. My bottle is the full 45.2% alcohol by volume. Although my bottle did not come in a tin sleeve, I have seen others that do so I am assuming the shop I purchased the bottle from foolishly threw the nice tin sleeve away.
In the Glass (9.0/10)
When I poured the first glass, the aroma was the typical thick bourbon smell of American Kentucky Bourbon. Honeyed, and thick with oak wood, the aroma could almost have been described as heavy and oily as well. A certain punky heaviness with wood smoke in the very background contrasted by hotter spices rose into the air as well.
In the Mouth (49/60)
Bourbon has its own unique flavour, spicy honey and a rich woody profile. This bourbon has a heavy texture in the mouth. It seems like having a thick corn syrup resting on the tongue even though the liquid is much more viscous. The wood smoke seems to stick to the taste buds and the hotter spices are subdued. There is also a smoothness that wants to coat the entire palate with this heavy, spicy, honey and wood experience. It is almost like the experience is too full of slick richness, and lacks the true character of a rounded whiskey.
In the Throat (12/15)
I found the bourbon stayed in my throat and palate unwilling to gracefully exit with the liquid. That woody heaviness and punky spicy honey seemed to stick in my throat as if it were really honey and not bourbon. It is kind of like the friend who stops for a visit but does not know when it is time to leave.
The Afterburn (7.5/10)
I have found it difficult to return often to this whiskey. The heavy mouth & thick texture requires me to almost face the whiskey as though it were a challenge instead of a treat. I battle with it and always leave the experience exhausted and unwilling to have a second glass. I understand the lure of this whiskey, but cannot find the charm myself.
You may read some of my other Whisky Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.
As always you may interpret the scores I provide as follows.
0-25 A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49 Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59 You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69 Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74 Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky. Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79 You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84 We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89 Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94 Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+ I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.
Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be more familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and Bronze medal scale as follows:
70 – 79.5 Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5 Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95 Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+ Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)