Woodford Reserve Double Oaked

Woodford Reserve Double Oaked Bourbon

By: Fork & Stave

Proof: 90.4 Proof (45.2% ABV)

Rating: 4 Barrels (4 out of 5)

Woodford Reserve Double Oaked starts life as standard Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select bourbon.  When the Distiller’s Select is emptied from it’s original barrel, it is put into a second barrel, made specially for this purpose, at 110 proof for roughly 9 months.  The characteristics of the second barrel include a longer toast and a less charred profile.  The heavier toast allows flavors of vanilla, caramel, and cream to be magnified and a light char gives the bourbon it’s sweet notes.

Tasting Notes: After letting it breathe for 10 minutes, I tasted this bourbon neat.

Nose: The first difference from my standard bottle of Woodford is the immediate rush of sweet smells including toffee, raisins, and molasses.  In the background there’s a touch of vanilla and some cream kissed by toasted oak.

First Sip: The sweetness from the nose hit me first with the accompanying flavors of toffee, vanilla, cream caramel, and dried fruit.  Fashionably late to the taste party are the spicier flavors of cinnamon, clove, and rye notes.

Mouth Feel:  I get some dryness from the tannins followed by the nice warmth that regular Woodford Reserve drinkers will recognize.  It’s just slightly bitter.

Finish: The bourbon washes down with a nice touch of spice and warmth from the alcohol.

Summary:  Everything about the smells and taste characteristics of this bourbon are more complex than the standard Woodford Reserve, as you might expect.  For my taste preference, this expression hits the sweet spot between the well rounded 6-8 year bourbon on the shelf and the older  18+ year delights.  Woodford Reserve Double Oaked does it all with very little impact from the oak notes, which are present, but more harmonious than in some dual cask bourbons.  This flavor experience can be had for around $50 from some online retailers like BevMo!.  In summary, the Double Oaked takes one of my favorite weekday bourbons, in Distiller’s Select, and tweaks it to become a wonderful dram for when I have time to savor the more complex flavors.