Woodford Reserve is a brand of straight Bourbon whiskey from Kentucky, USA. It is a small-batch Bourbon whiskey, distilled on-site at the distillery that began operations over two centuries ago in 1812.
The official Bourbon whiskey of the Kentucky Derby, Woodford Reserve is an extremely well-rated straight Bourbon among experts and whisky enthusiasts, and the brand has also done well at whisky tasting competitions.
The Woodford Reserve Distillery was earlier known as the Old Oscar Pepper Distillery, named after Oscar Pepper, who took over the business from his father, Elijah Pepper. It was Elijah who began distilling on the land in 1812, and Oscar who built most of the modern-day distillery that stands today.
Oscar Pepper, with Dr James Crow, who is also revered by some as the ‘Father of Bourbon whiskey’, and is also credited with perfecting the ‘sour mash process’ during his work at the Oscar Pepper Distillery.
Leopold Labrot and James Graham became new owners of the distillery in 1878, a few years after Oscar Pepper passed away in 1865. Labrot and James, who have their names adorning the bottles of Woodford Reserve to this day, ran the business until 1940.
New owners Brown & Forman took over operations, eventually selling the distillery in 1972 upon which it was mothballed and distillation ceased to happen at the site. Brown & Forman bought back the distillery in 1993, and the operations were in full swing by next year.
Their product was back in the market by 1996, under the name Woodford Reserve, a brand reborn. Earning the title of the ‘official Bourbon of the Kentucky Derby’ in 1999, Woodford Reserve has gone from strength to strength with their small-batch straight Bourbon whiskey.
The Woodford Reserve mash bill contains 72% Corn, 18% Rye and 10% Malted Barley. The spirit is triple distilled, and distillation is carried out using copper pot stills.
Woodford Reserve is a blend of the copper pot still whiskey produced at the Woodford Reserve Distillery in Woodford County, Kentucky, and column still spirit from the Brown Forman Distillery at Shively, Jefferson County, Kentucky.
Matured for a period of at least six years, Woodford Reserve is also at the lowest strength when filled into a barrel from among other Bourbon whiskey brands.
Woodford Reserve small-batch straight Bourbon whiskey carries an alcohol strength of 45.2% ABV (90.4 US Proof), slightly higher than the standard limit for Bourbon whiskeys.
‘Best In Class’ award at the International Spirits Challenge in 1999
Gold Medal at the International Wine & Spirit Competition in 2001
Double Gold Medal at the World Spirits Competition in 2000
Double Gold Medal at the World Spirits Competition in 2001
Double Gold Medal at the World Spirits Competition in 2005
Gold Medal at the International Spirits Challenge in 2003
Gold Medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2011
Gold Medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2012
Gold Medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2014
Rich, with intense aromas of dried fruit, hints of mint, vanilla and some spice.
Well-rounded, smooth and chewy. Citrusy, with some spice, caramel toffee, and rich chocolate.
Long, smooth, creamy and warming towards the end.