Follow Us:


KWM 2021 Whisky Calendar Day 22: Woodford Reserve Bourbon

Posted on December 22, 2021

by Evan

We are into record-breaking territory with Door number 22 of the 2021 KWM Whisky Calendar. This marks the third Bourbon we have seen for this year's calendar which is a high watermark for any of the KWM Whisky Calendar's we have produced so far. Or low-water mark if your name is Andrew and not Evan, but I digress! Today we have our own mini bottle of the Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey to open!

Previously in this year's Whisky Calendar, we featured the New Riff Bottled in Bond Bourbon on Day Five and the Old Forester Classic 86 Proof on Day Thirteen. Speaking of Old Forester, Woodford Reserve is owned by the same parent company as that Bourbon: Brown-Forman.

The Woodford Reserve Distillery is located outside of the town of Versailles, Kentucky. Nearest neighbours include Wild Turkey Distillery in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky which is about a 25-minute drive to the south and Four Roses Distillery which is a further 5-minute drive to the south from there. All three of these distilleries tour info can be found on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail map here.

Commercial Distillation on the Woodford Reserve property dates back to 1812 and one of the buildings still in use at Woodford was went up in 1838. Over the 180-ish years since the Distillery has undergone a few name changes. It was originally known as the Old Oscar Pepper Distillery, named after founder Elijah Pepper. The distillery was passed to his son James E. Pepper but the Pepper family sold the distillery and property in 1878 and it then took the name of the new owners as the Labrot & Leopold Distillery.

Other than during prohibition, the distillery operated steadily under that ownership until 1941, when Brown-Forman purchased the distillery and property. Surprisingly (especially in hindsight), Brown-Forman sold off the property to a local farmer in the late 1960s. For years, only a farm operated on the property until Brown-Forman ended up repurchasing it and reviving the distillery in 1993. The Woodford Reserve brand was introduced to the world three years later in 1996.

Photo of Woodford's three stills cribbed directly from Brown-Forman's website.

The Bourbon we are trying today is the flagship from the distillery. Like most Woodford Reserve branded whiskey, it is made from a combination of the triple distilled Bourbon made at Woodford blended with Shively/Louisville's Brown-Forman Distillery plant which uses a column still. This means there is likely some shared DNA between this and the Old Forester Bourbon we tasted previously. beyond both whisky brands being owned by the same family company. Will we see a direct resemblance between the Woodford Reserve and the Old Forester 86 Proof? Let's find out!

Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon - 45.2%

Evan’s Tasting Note

Nose: Big cherry notes right off the get-go. Red Twizzlers, peach nectar, hickory-smoked peanuts still in the shell, brown sugar, and puffed wheat squares

Palate: Cherry flavoured cough syrup, chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, peppermint tea, fresh peach slices, bananas, and cinnamon sugar doughnut twists.

Finish: Fruity and sweet but a bit drying - like a heavily steeped tea on the fade.

Comment: A complex Bourbon at a reasonable price.

I am more of an Old Forester guy, but it was fun to revisit the standard-issue Woodford Reserve. It was the first time in a while for me. I am excited to hear what you guys think between this and the other two Bourbons in the Whisky Calendar. Let me know!

[email protected]
Twitter and Instagram: @sagelikefool

This entry was posted in Whisky, Tastings, Bourbon, Whisky Calendars, KWM Whisky Calendar 2021



Recent Posts