Woodford Reserve - Kentucky Straight Malt Whiskey


Nose: Molasses, smoke, oak and alcohol. Palate: The first sip brings out traditional whiskey flavors, but more on the smoky side with the molasses from the nose also coming through. The mouthfeel is pretty light. It isn’t harsh nor burning and doesn’t even have an overwhelming amount of warmth either. There is a little on the finish, but it is pretty light. There’s a little bit of rye spiciness that comes through that might make you initially think you’re drinking a bourbon, but then the smokiness kicks in and turns the flavor profile around. There is a pleasant, smoky aftertaste that is “just right”….not TOO smoky or overpowering. Later sips bring out some very light traces of rye spice, toastiness and some pepper, particularly toward the finish, which isn’t terribly long. I’ve never smoked or chewed tobacco, but I get the impression that some of what I’m tasting may be a tobacco flavor of some kind. There’s also a very interesting undertone of dark chocolate that lasts from start to finish. Even later sips brought out some light banana flavors. Comment: I like this. It makes for a very nice, different sipper. It would be equally good as a “fireplace” sipper and “camp fire” sipper. Woodford makes some pretty good stuff, but once in a while, when they stray from their bourbon wheelhouse, they stumble. I don’t think that is the case here. If you are expecting something more like their bourbon, you might be disappointed, but if you like to try something different, you might like it. Even though it is a single malt, it really didn’t remind me too much of a scotch. If you like a “woody”, rich whiskey, you might like this. If you like a light, smoky whiskey, you should like this. This came out in 2018 and shouldn’t be too hard to find. The mash bill is 51% malted barley, 47% corn, and 2% rye. This mash bill distinguishes it from “single malts” because it is NOT 100% malted barley. I think this has a lot to do with it being a relative of bourbon in taste. It clocks in at 94 proof, but it drinks more like an 80 or 84. I think the price is in the upper $30 range. I like other Woodford products and think this is a good example of the quality for which they are known.