WR: Woodford Reserve
WRDO: Woodford Reserve Double Oak
Maker: Brown-Forman, Louisville, Kentucky, USA
WR: Standard Recipe bourbon
WRDO: Bourbon finished in a toasted then lightly charred oak barrel
Proof: 90.4 (45.2% ABV)
Michigan Minimum Price (750 ml)
WRDO: $60 (purchased for $50)
WR: Copper with thin legs.
WRDO: Slightly darker with pronounced necklacing.
WR: Alcohol, oak, dried oregano, homemade caramels.
WRDO: Leather, oak, black walnut, alcohol.
On the palate
WR: Full bodied and sweet. Burn, brown sugar, a touch of cayenne and not much else.
WRDO: Medium bodied and tannic. Alcohol, brown sugar, oak.
WR: Sweet and slightly oaky with some candy. Then lots of burn.
WRDO: Very oaky. Black walnut, fresh oak, fades into alcohol and then away fairly quickly.
Parting words: Woodford Reserve is a popular whipping boy for bourbon enthusiasts. The knocks on it are that it’s young, overpriced, underpowered and its success is all marketing and packaging and no substance. Knocks on the Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection, a series of experimental annual releases have been similar but even more harsh.
It’s hard to argue with those points. Woodford is expensive for an NAS of 90 proof with little in the way of distinctive tastes or aromas. Woodford Double Oak, a rebarreled version of Woodford with a strong resemblance to the Seasoned Oak Master’s Collection release, adds some needed oak, but not much in the way of depth, unfortunately.
Both fare well in manhattans, but I don’t recall trying them in any other cocktails.
When the Double Oak was released, it was a marginal buy at $50 but $60 is an absurd price for what this is. If it sold for $40-$50 it would be worth a full recommendation, but as it is it is mildly recommended. Standard Woodford was overpriced when it first came out, but as bourbon prices have risen around it, it doesn’t seem so bad. Still, it is dull and its sister brand Old Forester is a much better buy and available at 100 proof. Woodford Reserve is also mildly recommended.