Woodford Reserve Double Oaked

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It's the start of August and time to take a closer look at dram number 6 from 2020's Advent Calendar. I know; it's taking me ages to review each one. Which is more an indication of the sheer number of samples I have accumulated over the last year to year and a half rather than due to anything else. And I always like to do each whisky or whiskey the best service possible. So yes; it's taking me ages.

Dram 6 is the Woodford Reserve Double Oaked expression. Once again, this is a new distillery for me so I can't compare it to the Distiller's Select which is the company's flagship product.

Woodford Reserve distillery, near Versailles in Kentucky, is currently owned by Brown-Forman and is unique in that it is the only distillery in Kentucky making bourbon using a set of three copper pot stills. The mashbill comprises of 72% corn, 18% rye and 10% malted barley. However, the end product is a blend of bourbon made at the Woodford Reserve distillery and bourbon made at Brown-Forman's Shively distillery as Old Forester. The mashbill for the latter is the same; however, distillation for this takes place in column rather than pot stills.

Launched in 2012, the Double Oaked expression was the first double barrelled bourbon to hit the market. This whiskey starts off in the same way as the Distiller's Select but is then matured in barrels which have been heavily toasted and lightly charred. According to Justin Sloan on The Bourbon Review, the second barrels have been toasted for 40 minutes and charred for just 5 seconds (as opposed to 10 minutes and 25 seconds respectively for the Distiller's Select). Finishing in these barrels takes between six to twelve months and although neither the Distiller's Select and the Double Oaked expressions carry age statements, it appears as though maturation takes between six to seven years.

Reading between the lines of posts on various bourbon blogs, I get the impression that this is very much an entry level whiskey and that the name, Woodford Reserve, doesn't garner as much attention or love as some think it deserves. But what about the liquid? Here are my thoughts:

WOODFORD RESERVE DOUBLE OAKED - 43.2%

Nose: an initial hint of balsamic vinegar which subsides quite quickly; notes of toffee popcorn and cinnamon buns shortly follow; there's a slight hint of aniseed in the background which develops into more of a menthol note after a while.

Palate: there's a sharpness to this at the start; this is quite dry and not the mouthfeel I was expecting - it's thinner than I thought it would be; plenty of oak spice notes followed by crème brûlée, after a while this becomes more like a sticky toffee pudding with chocolate custard; there's also a slight hint of peppermint on the finish.

Overall: this evolves in the glass and develops extra layers of complexity after an hour or so. At the start, it feels a little rough around the edges and appears to be quite tannin led. However, with time, those edges seem a little less jaggy. For the price (£45.89), it's not bad; but not great. But you could probably spend just a fiver more and find something far more superior in quality. If you fancy giving it a go, you can find it over on Master of Malt: HERE

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