Woodford Reserve has always been the standard for what a good whiskey should be. We have given it as gifts. We have received it as gifts. Woodford is what we got each other when we wanted to do something nice or for special occasions. When a memorable whiskey was needed, more times than I can count, Woodford was the whiskey of choice. Now, was this due to incredible marketing? Or can a drink be that palatable that it gets passed around via word of mouth? Is it some combination of the two? Or, is there an endless circle of comfortability? Are we so scared to buy something that we are unfamiliar with, that it keeps us to what is comfortable, and then the comfortable becomes tastier and tastier to the point that it solidifies our purchase and what we drink with good friends? I mean, we see Woodford in the South as the common top shelf staple whiskey. And to add to its notoriety and popularity, it is the choice drink of the Kentucky Derby, with all of the accompanying pomp and circumstance. Other whiskies are just now starting to show up on the shelves to battle Woodford’s presence in the bars. As folks are being exposed to new top tier whiskies, will Woodford continue to measure up?
Many in The Society have been waiting for Woodford to show up in the blind tasting, knowing their personal affection for it, and wondering how it would rank on noses and tongues when put to the blind test.
So, we left Woodford to be blind tasted at an opportune time- we had already blind tasted so many various whiskies, expanding everyone’s pallet so as to not favor Woodford, and waited long enough for people to not expect it during a tasting. In prior tastings, many members even guessed Woodford for anything that seemed familiar.
Without further ado, we present The Charred Barrel Society’s review of our beloved Woodford Reserve.
When you approach with the nose, you are going to get that vanilla, caramel scent. As it develops, you can expect to pull out complexities of orange citrus and some members even mentioned burnt sugar.
When it came to the taste, many of members wrote familiar. Barrel wood and spice can be expected, with hints of leather and tobacco. A good portion of members put some kind of mint quality. This could explain why it is so good for a mint julep. It’s also in the taste and particularly the aftertaste, that chocolate makes an appearance.
Super smooth was a common thread, along with having a buttery quality about it. It did not leave a bad aftertaste and was pleasantly warm as it opened up in the chest.
The Society gave Woodford Reserve a blind finger rating of 2.4 fingers. This is a very admirable score. What makes this score even better is the fact that you only need to spend about 34 bucks to get a hold of a 750ml bottle of this goodness.
So the legend of Woodford Reserve is true- this is just an all around good whiskey. Even when faced with a blind tasting, it surpassed its marketing and outside influences to be a whiskey that is tasty and worth the respect the brand has built over centuries. I think I secretly wanted it to not score well just to see if I too had bought into the marketing, but Woodford in fact, is loved by so many simply because it tastes good.