Woodford Reserve Double Oaked Bourbon Review

Recently Woodford Reserve released a new expression called Woodford Reserve Double Oaked.  It’s their first expression in over 15 years and I’m happy to report that they’ve done a wonderful job with their newest addition. But before we get into my tasting notes I think we need to provide a little explanation of just what “double oaked” means. Here’s what they have to say over on Woodford’s website:

An innovative approach to twice-barreled bourbon creates the rich and colorful flavor of Woodford Reserve Double Oaked. Uniquely matured in separate, charred oak barrels – the second barrel deeply toasted before a light charring – extracts additional amounts of soft, sweet oak character.”

Sounds pretty good, right? It not only sounds good but it also smells good and tastes wonderful. In fact, the aroma reminds me of creamy caramel and vanilla based desserts. Hell…if they made a candle that smelled like it I would buy a truckload.

The aroma is so well balanced I can’t think of a bourbon I’ve had recently that matches it. And the taste? Well–you have to read my notes below to hear about the taste.

Here’s a brief video from Woodford telling us a little bit more about how Double Oaked is made.

This is a well crafted bourbon. The folks at Woodford should be extremely proud of their product and the traditional that they continue to represent. I’m a definite fan. However, I do have some concerns with the pricing of the bourbon compared to other products in the market. I would have preferred that it was in the $30-35 dollar range. But of course that didn’t stop me from buying 2 bottles a few days ago. (But in my defense there were only 9 bottles left and I know it will be a long time before it makes it back to my neck of the woods.)

As always let me know in the comments what you think about my Woodford Reserve Double Oaked review.

Bourbon Name: Woodford Reserve Double Oaked
Year: 2012
How I Drank It: Neat, in my special bourbon glass (please don’t be jealous)
My Nose Noticed:* Brown Sugar | Cooked Apples | Caramel
First Sip: Oak | Spices | Vanilla
The Burn**: Quite sharp on my tongue at first followed by a slow building warmth that remains in the back of your throat and works its way down. A little water added helps reduce the upfront sharpness. After that the burn is pure bliss.
Neat, Splash or Rocks: This is a bourbon that can please everyone. Neat and it’s a powerful balance of bourbon flavors. A splash of water starts to soften the bite and open up the flavors. Add in some rocks and you mellow the bourbon to a pleasing mix of smell and flavors.
Share With: This is a solid bourbon regardless of who you’re drinking with at the time. It’s sophisticated enough to drink with your boss or anyone else you’re trying to impress and is approachable enough even for your friends who don’t know much about bourbon.
Worth The Price: Woodford Reserve Double Oaked is a fantastic bourbon and one that I would be happy to drink on a regular basis. However, at the price of $45-50 it’s a tad bit expensive in my opinion.  Plus, since it was just released it’s a little hard to find in most markets.
Bottle, Bar or Bust: If you’ve got a good starter bourbon selection already in place I highly recommend adding this to your collection. But if you’re just getting started I would suggest that you enjoy this one at the bar a few times before shelling out the cash to add to the bar at home.

*I like to let my bourbon sit in the glass for at least 5 minutes before I start to smell it or have a drink. I personally find that it’s better to let some of the alcohol waft off before diving in. If I’m drinking bourbon on the rocks I skip the waiting and dive in both feet first.

**Some of you refer to this as the “finish” but let’s be honest. Don’t we all just want to know if it burns good?


Are you a longtime fan of Woodford Reserve? Think you know your bourbon? Then why don’t you take the Woodford Reserve Bourbon Master quiz and see if you can pass. If you successfully pass the quiz you get a certificate to print out and a customized bottle label that will be mailed to you in a few weeks.  Makes the perfect addition to your new bottle of Double Oaked.

You can access the Woodford Reserve Bourbon Master Quiz via this link.

Good luck!

 

About Patrick "Pops" Garrett

Patrick Garrett, "Pops" as he's known to his friends, is the founder of Bourbon & Banter, LLC and claims the title of Chief Drinking Officer (CDO). A long-time marketing professional and photographer, Pops hopes to use his professional experience and love of Bourbon to spread the Bourbon Gospel and help everyone realize the therapeutic power of having a good drink with friends.

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  • http://twitter.com/JayMonster JayMonster

    Is it just me, or is the “process” (double oaking) essentially the same basic idea as what Maker’s did with Maker’s 46?

    One thing you don’t mention… the original Woodford has a very distinctive taste on the finish… a sort of oxidized penny taste that I presume comes from the Copper Pot Still they use. This taste, which lingers long after the swallow is one reason I do not particularly care for it. Does the re-barreling remove (or at least dampen) that taste/aftertaste?

    To be perfectly honest, at the price, I can’t see myself every trying this unless someone gave it to me. And if that copper taste is there, even if somebody gave it to be, it would probably just be regifted to somebody that likes pot stilled stuff.

    • http://www.bourbonbanter.com Patrick “Pops” Garrett

      You’re right. Distiller Select does have a very distinctive taste. Sorry that I forgot about that as it’s one of the things that always gives Woodford away if you’re presented with a blind glass of bourbon. Personally I don’t usually mind that flavor but I can see how some people take issue with it. I’m not sure if it’s from the copper. I always thought it was a result of Woodford’s “sweet mash” process versus the more traditional “sour mash” processed used my most distillers. I’d have to do a side by side comparison to be sure but I’m not recalling that uniquely Woodford flavor being very strong in the Double Oaked expression. Next time you’re at a bar try a glass and let me know what you think.

      • Alex

        I don’t believe anyone in the bourbon industry uses anything other than the sour mash process. Woodford once had a Master’s Collection release that utilized a sweet mash, but I believe the standard edition is made from a sour mash. As they admitted themselves after their experiment, it would be impossible or unprofitable to produce a commercial-scale product using a sweet mash process. As it is, they had to dump their mash a number of times and start over before they had something they could distill with any hope of success.

        All the distillers use copper for their stills, even the column stills, so I don’t believe that the copper is unique to Woodford. Likely the flavor is just a result of the combination of their proprietary recipe, yeast, and distillation process (including the shape of a pot still or the number of plates in a column still, the condenser, and the amount of reflux)–the mysterious forces that cause every whiskey to taste slightly different.

  • http://www.whiskeynotes.com Ben

    Awesome review; I’ve always liked the Distiller’s Select and am looking forward to tasting this one! Do you think it replaces DS or it’s worth owning both?

    • http://www.bourbonbanter.com Patrick “Pops” Garrett

      Ben, I think it’s different enough to consider it an addition to your collection.

  • http://Www.johnsondirect.com Grant Johnson

    Picked up a bottle after I saw this review. Looking forward to the taste. Devil’s cut is now on my list to acquire as well. Keep the reviews flowing..

  • Todd

    I recently spent some time in Louisville and had the opportunity to try just about every damn bourbon on the market (and some not yet out)… Man, is there some great stuff. That said, the WR Double Oaked had a bit too much oak in it for me. I agree with the aroma, though. Fantastic.

    Grant, I also tried the Devil’s Cut and was pleasantly surprised. Not being much of a Beam drinker myself. Their facility tour was also impressive and very informative. They really took the time to explain processes and the numbers they throw out are mind-boggling.

    That being said, the Four Roses tour could use more personable tour guides. I like their stuff, but would have liked to learn more rather than just see more.

    • Todd

      My bad! Had the Devil’s Cut, yes. Visited Beam, no. After sifting through my pics, it was the Wild Turkey Distillery, not Beam, that had the great tour. Largest single distillery in US (by volume).

      • Alex

        Thanks for the recommendation, I’ll have to visit Wild Turkey. However I thought Jack Daniel’s in Tennessee was the largest distillery (in the world, by volume). Is there a difference between the largest distillery and the largest “single” distillery? Maybe Jack Daniel’s operates more than one “distillery” on the same site? Jim Beam also produces more bourbon than Wild Turkey, but Beam uses a combination of three distilleries at different locations, I believe.

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