Review: Woodford Reserve Double Oaked

Hut, hut, hut… it’s Superbowl time! And if that doesn’t call for some kick-ass bourbon than I don’t know what does. One of my personal favourite (widely-available) bourbons is this Woodford Reserve Double Oaked. And since here (in Europe) it’s still a long night to go before the Philadelphia Eagles face off against the Kansas City Chiefs, wasting some time with a hefty pour of this delicious dram puts me in the right mood for tonight’s game!

This Woodford Reserve Double Oaked is a bourbon that has been aged in two oak barrels, with the second maturation done in heavy toasted casks. This is a rather unique approach to the ageing process of bourbon whiskey, which means it’s quite hard to compare to others in the category. Finding out whether it’s delicious though… now that’s something I’m eager to share with all of you!

Tasting Notes: Woodford Reserve Double Oaked
Stats:

ABV: 43,2 % (86,4 proof)

Age: NAS

Distillery: Woodford Reserve Distillery

Owned by: Brown-Forman

Category: Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Awards: The American Whisky Masters “Master” (2017, 2018)

Chill-Filtered: Yes

Natural Colour: Yes

Setting:

At the moment I’m writing this it’s Sunday night and I’ve just come home from a long walk with the dogs. After helping out at the Hielander Whisky Festival all day yesterday, the walk left me quite exhausted. But the dogs had a blast and that always lifts my spirits. And how good does it feel when you come home exhausted and you can put the recliner up, pour some whisky neat into a Glencairn, and start writing a little? I did just that and I can tell you, it feels awesome!

Nose:

Just sniffing this dram already starts to warm me up. With warm and cozy flavourse coming off the glass. Notes of freshly baked apple pie, hot vanilla sauce, Amarena cherries, barrel aged maple syrup and wet tobacco leaves all come to mind. With that many flavours on the nose of a whisky it can often become a bit disjointed, but that’s not the case with this Woodford Reserve Double Oaked. This dram stays cohesive throughout and if comfort food we’re a drink, this would be it. Water dulls the nose quite a bit, dampening most of the sweeter elements but revealing some brown sugar here just like I found it on the palate before adding water.

Palate:

Of all the sweetness that I found on the nose, only a sliver remains on the palate. There’s some brown sugar here (the brown rock sugar on a stick you sometimes receive with a fancy tea), but that’s where the sweeter influences end. Notes of extra dark chocolate, cinnamon and (no surprise here given the name) oak, take over. There’s a little mint that appears on the back of the tongue as well, which combined with that dark chocolate makes me reminisce the After Eight chocolate mints I used to love as a child. On the one hand I do feel like this dram could have used a little extra ABV, on the other hand it might have made the palate too oak forward. It’s very enjoyable, but it lacks some intensity on the sweeter side of this dram.

Water turns up the cinnamon quite a bit, giving this dram quite a bit more spice to work with. It also brings some of the apple notes from the nose to the palate, but sadly enough it takes away the dark chocolate notes.

Finish:

That After Eight mint is the major component of the finish of this Woodford Reserve Double Oaked. A little bit of liquorice lies in the finish as well and perhaps if I look closely enough, I am finding some toffee. But it’s the chocolate mint that dominates. The finish is medium long, which means that flavour stay present for quite some time. Now, it’s a flavour I greatly enjoy. But beware if you don’t. Water ramps up the intensity and length of this finish, yet the flavours stay very much the same. It’s still predominantly chocolate mint that I’m getting.

Verdict:

I like this bourbon a lot. Even though you’ve seen me describe plenty of sweeter tasting notes, it’s a lot less sweet than most traditional bourbons. And it brings a lot of darker notes as well. It’s a combination that I can truly appreciate. At times I do feel like it could use a bit more ABV. But at other times I fear that would make the bitter notes to dominant. Which leaves me with a dram I absolutely enjoy, but where some part of me always feels like it could have been better. But how and where I would tweak it, I don’t know, and in the end, I applaud the Woodford Reserve Double Oaked for giving us another point of view on bourbon which altogether I consider a great success.

This is without a doubt a dram I don’t mind sipping on for a while. And since it’s widely available for roughly 40 euro, I’m sure it will stay a staple in my liquor cabinet for quite some time.

Rating:

87/100

Value:

B+

Click here to learn more about how I come up with my tasting notes. And how I determine rating and value.

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