Tag Archives: Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection

Woodford Reserve: The Ugly (Part III & Conclusion)

In the first two installments of this survey of the whiskeys Woodford Reserve has produced over the years, I looked at the standard Woodford Reserve expression, the oak variants (Seasoned Oak and Double Oaked), the sweet experiments (Maple Wood and Sweet Mash) and the Four Grain idea. None of them managed to connect in a big way for me. All that remains in the Woodford universe are three substantial deviations from normal Woodford: the Sonoma-Cutrer finished bourbon and the two rye whiskey experiments.

This may seem like an obsessive length to go to – both writing about and experimenting endlessly with – for a whiskey I’ve already admitted I don’t like. This reveals a character flaw of mine: I don’t like to admit that I can’t do something. In this case, I don’t like to find food or drink that I can’t enjoy in some manner. A similar struggle for me for a long time was eggplant. I’ve tried eggplant a million different ways over the years, and I just can never like it. I finally threw in the towel and had to admit I couldn’t find something that worked for me after trying every conceivable preparation.

I think it’s a broader desire for me to understand and appreciate that drives this. Sometimes our first exposures to new things are so strongly colored by how different they are compared to the things we like. If I don’t respond well to something it’s almost a red flag for me to dig deeper and try and find what people like about it. Usually a few variants will get me there and give me a broader appreciation. Woodford seems to strike the same nerve: Yes, it’s bourbon, but it’s just sticky and thick and sweet in a way I find hard to like. Clearly, my reasoning goes, I must be missing something that has drawn people to it.

I get why people like it and as I’ve said, I think it’s a great thing for bourbon in a broader market sense. At the same time, it does absolutely nothing for me. It’s this desire to understand it that leads me to these least-likely expressions.

The Sonoma-Cutrer experiment was one of the earlier bourbon-finished-in-wine experiments. These have been of mixed success — Hooker’s House finished in pinot noir and it was great. Angel’s Envy was masked by the port influence, and so on. Sonoma-Cutrer eschews the conventional approach of a red wine and instead used a California chardonnay cask for additional aging. If nothing else, this change of pace could be interesting.

The nose did not go as expected. It immediately had a very funky fake grape note – like grape Kool-Aid. There was a strong prickle to the nose even though it was only 43%. There were some dusty, farmy notes and a light wood influence. The palate had a hint of marzipan as would be expected, and a hint of toffee, but it ran up against a heavy, syrupy, fake grape note. There was a chocolatey note vaguely present, some light wood, and a lot of heat for the ABV. Trying to get past the grape note was a challenge but it was unacceptably sweet. The finish continued with the syrup and alcohol notes, was still quite warm. The wood was bitter and drying, tending toward astringency. The finish lasted longer than was welcome and had the fake grape note coming on strong.

I really didn’t enjoy anything about the Sonoma-Cutrer. In fact, I think it’s in my bottom five whiskeys of all time. It seemed young, impossibly sweet, and dominated by a fake grape note. It made me think of grape Kool-Aid mixed with vodka. I’m not exaggerating in the least when I say I would probably rather have Loch Dhu given the choice.

So, the inescapable conclusion: Woodford doesn’t have a bourbon I like. But the last Master’s Collection was a pair of ryes – perhaps they had something to offer? The Master’s Collection ryes were two variations on a theme: a new cask rye (an unused cask) and an aged cask rye (basically, a refill cask). Both came in at 46.2% ABV.

The new cask rye was darker, due to the wood influence the new cask was able to impart.  It had a thin, piney and slightly resinous nose, and some prickle from the alcohol. A little white pepper and cinnamon completed the nose. The palate was thin and bitter, with a pretty heavy wood influence. The rye had some light floral notes, but the heat was picking up and there was a slightly metallic taste. The finish was dry, slightly bitter, with light cinnamon and faint cherries. The wood toned down and wasn’t overpowering. Unfortunately overall, the wood was out of balance and fought the good rye tastes. The metallic notes weren’t overpowering but really tainted the experience.

The aged cask rye, conventional wisdom would state, would have a less pronounced wood influence and let the spirit shine through more. It was a touch medicinal and generally estery on the nose, with some light floral notes. Rye started to peek out a bit and was accompanied by a vanilla note. The palate was surprisingly sharp with a bitter wood presence. There was some vague rye notes but the wood killed it. It was highly medicinal, with a menthol kick to it. There was also a metallic tang to the palate. The finish was sharp and alcoholic, with a faint hit of rye, but mostly a medicinal and grainy tone. It was just objectionably bitter. While the nose opened up, I just kept thinking that this was something that should be rubbed in a cut, not drank.

With that, I’ve surveyed pretty much every offering that bears the Woodford Reserve name. Unfortunately, none of them really did it for me – some disastrously bad in the case of the Sonoma, some just off-balance like Double Oaked.

At this point, I realize it’s a fruitless pursuit for me to try further with Woodford. I’ve tried every major version of their whiskey they’ve released, and nothing has really come close to the mark for me. While I would have been happy to find a Woodford that I liked, it just didn’t happen. And I’m alright with that.

One of the odd things about this whole experience was researching other peoples’ take on Woodford. I noticed one blogger who talked about going to the distillery and making bread with Woodford’s master distiller, as part of a class that showed the contribution of grains to the flavor of whiskey. Remember, the grains in whiskey are the same grains used in most of our breads.

This ended up being an experiment that I wanted to try. I ended up baking the Woodford beer bread, which combined rye, barley and corn with some beer. Unfortunately, like the Woodfords, this ended up not being a hit for me either. To me it tasted like a slightly yeasty cornbread (which it was, in effect). What I took away from it though was an ever-growing love for baking bread that has been a big hobby lately.

And I think that’s why I say Woodford is a great thing. While I don’t like it per se, I think it has a great ability to enlighten the bourbon drinker who’s never had a premium bourbon. Subjectively I think there are better bourbons in the price range, but if Woodford is the whiskey that leads people to a broader enjoyment of bourbon then I think it’s done a great thing. Maybe Woodford will be the one for some of those people.

For me, as much as I didn’t like the whiskey, it did provide for me a connection to my past – bread baking. I used to love making bread with my dad at home when I was younger. It’s something I hadn’t done in probably close to 25 years at this point. And Woodford has reignited that passion and perhaps made it something I will share with my son in time. So while I never enjoyed the whiskey itself, the whiskey has led me to a broader appreciation of something else in my life.

I think that’s a great thing.

At a glance:

Woodford Reserve Sonoma-Cutrer Finish 43.2% ABV
Nose: 
Funky – grapey (like grape kool-aid, not actual grapes) and kind of sour. Strong alcohol prickle even though it’s not particularly strong. Dusty, farmy notes. Light wood.
Palate: 
Syrupy. Fake-grape. Quite hot for the ABV. Some wood. Sweet. Hint of marzipan. Distant hint of toffee which collides horribly with the fake grape. Vaguely chocolatey note. Unacceptably sweet once you get past the weird grape note.
Finish: 
Alcohol – tastes like cough syrup. Wood. Bitter and drying, slightly astringent. Still quite warm. Lasts longer than is welcome and manages to bring the awful grape note to the fore.
Comment: 
This is terrible. It’s impossibly sweet and yet has a high alcohol burn – must be fairly young. There is nothing to like about this unless you are tired of mixing grape kool-aid with vodka. I would rather drink Loch Dhu and that’s not hyperbole.
Rating:
D

Woodford Reserve New Cask Rye 46.2% ABV
Nose: 
A bit thin, piney and slightly resinous on the nose. Some prickle from the alcohol. White pepper and cinnamon.
Palate: 
Thin. Initially bitter. Wood is pretty strong on this one. The rye comes up with some light floral notes after a few seconds. The heat keeps picking up too. Faintly metallic.
Finish: 
Dry, slightly bitter. Light cinnamon, faint hint of cherries. Woody but not overpowering. 
Comment: 
The wood is out of balance on this one and really pushes against the better parts of a rye whiskey.
Rating:
C

Woodford Reserve Aged Cask Rye 46.2% ABV
Nose: 
A touch medicinal and generally estery. Lightly floral nose. Some rye peeks out and there’s a slightly vanilla note to it as well. 
Palate: 
Sharp, bitter wood. There’s something vaguely rye there but the wood kills it. Medicinal, menthol. The ever-familiar woodford metallic notes.
Finish:  Sharp and alcoholic. A faint hit of rye on the finish but it’s medicinal again. 
Comment: 
Objectionably bitter on the palate. The nose opens up after a bit but this just tastes and smells like something I should rub in a cut, not drink. 
Rating:  
C-

Woodford Reserve: The Bad (Part II)

In part one of this Woodford Reserve overview, I focused on my attempts with the standard Woodford Reserve, and my hopes that Seasoned Oak or Double Oaked may hold the key to a Woodford I liked. It was not to be, unfortunately.

Maybe this was, again, my misguided attempt to force something into being something it wasn’t. Woodford is a sweeter bourbon; perhaps I needed to see if they could dial up the sweetness in a way that agreed with me.

I don’t know what it is about sweet bourbons that fail to be more than a ground rule double for me. They’re nice; they frequently have a great mouthfeel. Some even get amazing notes that remind me of decadent desserts or sweet syrupy breakfasts. I think it’s because the taste tends to be fairly simple and doesn’t have a lot of intrigue beyond the first impression. And, as I said last time, as I’ve gotten older I’ve lost a little more of my taste for sweet things. They’re nice, but they need to be balanced by something to keep it interesting – bitterness, sourness, perhaps even extreme spice. Sweet on top of sweet is something I overindulged in back in my trick-or-treating days. I’ve had plenty that I’d drink at length, but they just never get into “wow” territory for me.

However, I was willing to concede that I should see if sweetness, which is more part of the core Woodford character, could be coaxed into something I liked in the Master’s collection. This led to a pair of interesting sweet experiments: Maple Wood and Sweet Mash.

Maple Wood was an interesting one. Bourbon barrels, as we recall, are made out of white oak. Woodford’s Maple Wood expression took the aged bourbon and then finished it in a toasted maple barrel. Maple has a higher amount of sugar in it, so the theory goes, it should be noticeably sweeter. The nose didn’t betray a lot of difference – there were the expected notes of banana and marzipan, with a touch of maple syrup. I also noticed some vegetal corn and raw sugar notes. The palate was unexpectedly light and sweet, with turbinado sugar and corn, and settling down with some toffee. There was grain and earthiness, but it was also slightly bitter and astringent. There was also a medicinal note on the palate (more Robitussin than, say, the Chloraseptic of Laphroaig). The finish was light with butterscotch, earthiness and the medicinality again. There was a little maraschino cherry and some turbinado sugar throughout the whole finish.

I was kind of surprised. It was sweet but not overtly so. I didn’t find myself having a huge preference on taste versus the standard Woodford profile, so on price alone, you’ve got to go with the standard version.

Another opinion on the Maple Wood was offered by David Perkins, proprietor of High West. We were talking about the various Woodfords at one point last fall, and I mentioned the Maple. He responded, “My favorite was the maple barrel whiskey!  There’s no accounting for taste.  I lived in New Hampshire a couple years and developed a fondness for maple syrup and can’t get enough in my diet nowadays.  Maybe that’s why.” So, there’s another take on Maple Wood.

So, with Maple Wood being largely same-ish, the next option was the Sweet Mash. Now, to review, virtually every bourbon produced is using the sour mash process. What it means is that when a distillation batch is run, some of the spent mash is retained for the next batch. This helps control the pH of the mash and results in a more consistent product from batch to batch. The press release from Brown Forman on Sweet Mash said that the sweet mash process resulted in a higher pH on the mash (expected) and that it revealed “a layer of aromas and flavors which aren’t commonly found in sour mash bourbons”. Seems like a reasonable claim.

The nose bore this out – it was intensely sweet with a slightly vegetal undertone, some turbinado sugar, toffee, maple syrup, and a low-level wood influence. A little time and air coaxed a little vanilla out, but this was unmistakably sugary and sweet. The palate was again somewhat thin, with a strong alcohol presence, syrupy sweetness, and maple syrup. Again, Sweet Mash had a bit of a medicinal note, and some distant notes of plum. Despite all the sweetness, it was still sort of bland. The finish had a huge alcohol kick at first, but was not nuanced – just toffee, raw sugar and corn. The real surprise was that each subsequent sip seemed sweeter than the one before, to the point that I was hoping it would end.

Those two were disappointments. There was one left that I thought could be interesting as a slight variation on a theme – the Four Grain. Unlike most bourbons which are three-grain recipes (corn, barley, wheat or rye), Four Grain uses both wheat and rye. There were two releases of Four Grain: a Kentucky-only release and a wider release a year later. I managed to try the Kentucky-only release. Again, it had the very distinctive Woodford nose – thick with marzipan and banana. It was also a little sour and grainy, with some oiliness. There was also a solventy, cleaning product, Pine-Sol smell happening – perhaps some young rye? I also noticed something metallic on the nose. The palate was again thin, with oiliness and solvent notes; pine and funky rye. There was a little vanilla and toffee, but they were struggling to be tasted. There were some late marzipan flavors, and it seemed to move towards sweetness but it was too all over the place. The finish dried out and showed some wood and a bit of caramel; it was bitter and had some turbinado sugar.

I thought the four grain was absolute chaos on the palate. The nose was too sour and seemed young between the turbinado sugar notes and the piney, solventy rye aspects. The nose seemed like a step down from the standard Woodford, unfocused and sloppy.

I had hoped that following the sweet side of Woodford to an extreme might yield something I liked. Unfortunately that was not the case. All that remained to try were a pair of deep-end experiments: a bourbon finished in Sonoma-Cutrer casks, and the two rye experiments released last fall. Maybe one of those would connect.

We’ll look at those whiskies tomorrow and wrap up the survey of Woodford Reserve as well.

At a glance:

Woodford Reserve Maple Wood Finish 47.2% ABV
Nose: 
Close to the regular Woodford – definite banana and marzipan notes, some maple syrup. A lightly vegetal, corn and raw sugar note.
Palate: 
Light mouthfeel – very sweet, bringing up turbinado sugar and corn, settling down with some toffee notes. Fairly warm, some grain and earth notes, light wood but slight bitterness and astringency. Moderately drying, with a medicinal note (Robitussin to Laphroaig’s Chloraseptic).
Finish: 
Reasonably light, alcohol, butterscotch, slight earthiness, and a low-grade medicinal note. Some maraschino cherry early. Turbinado sugar throughout.
Comment: 
Of all the Master’s Collection, this one shows the least influence on taste. It’s fine, slightly sweeter, but not overtly objectionable in that direction. Since I don’t have a strong preference on taste vs the standard Woodford, it comes to price, and that’s pretty clear-cut – just go with the regular Woodford.
Rating:
C+

Woodford Reserve 1838 Sweet Mash 43.2% ABV
Nose: 
Sweet – corn note in abundance, a slightly vegetal undertone, turbinado sugar, toffee, maple syrup sweetness, some light wood. With a little time in the glass and some air it opens to give a little more traditional vanilla note.
Palate: 
Thin-ish, surprisingly strong alcohol note, syrupy sweetness, medium heat, some slightly bitter wood. Maple syrup, almost a medicinal hint. Some very far off notes of plum. Despite the sweetness it’s still kind of bland.
Finish: 
Big alcohol flush, not particularly nuanced. Toffee, raw sugar, corn.
Comment:  This is one-dimensional and tastes young. There’s not a lot of complexity to the whiskey. There is an odd bitterness that clashes with the strong sweetness. It just doesn’t hang together coherently. Thank god for the sour mash process. The longer you drink this, the sweeter each subsequent sip tastes.
Rating:
C-

Woodford Reserve Four Grain (KY Only release) 46.2% ABV
Nose: 
There’s the distinctive thick nose which has the expected elements of marzipan and a hint of banana. It’s a little sour and grainy, with an oily smell. There’s a solventy, cleaner smelling thing happening too – a little Pine-Sol. It’s kind of like a recently emptied grain elevator – definitely something metallic in the background.
Palate: 
Surprisingly a little thin on the palate. Again there’s the oil and solvent, a little pine, funky rye note. Way in the back is a little vanilla, a little toffee, both trying to peek out. Not particularly warm and late there’s a note of marzipan. It wants to settle on a little sweet note but there’s too much to distract.
Finish: 
Dries out, shows a little wood and lasts reasonably long. There’s some hints of caramel. It’s also a little bitter. Some turbinado sugar for good measure.
Comment:  The palate is completely chaotic to me. The sour nose and unrefined sugar makes it seem relatively young. The nose is a really unfocused, sloppy Woodford nose. As with the vast majority of the Masters Series, this is not an improvement.
Rating:
C

Woodford Reserve: The Good (Part I)

Woodford Reserve is great for the bourbon market and one of my least favorite bourbons ever.

I note my opinion upfront so that I can’t be accused of not disclosing a deep personal bias. It’s not that it’s undrinkable – it’s certainly better than most Beam products I’ve tried – it just has that generally disappointing profile I get from virtually every Brown-Forman product I’ve tried.

I’ve admitted recently that I was perhaps not as enlightened a whiskey connoisseur as I might hope to be. I don’t think that this is what drives my distaste for Brown-Forman whiskeys. Yes, there’s a chance I might be enthralled by crazy, one-off strange whisky experiments. Perhaps that colors my bias – but even then, with its Master’s Collection, in theory, Brown-Forman would have me covered. I wonder if an astute observation by Josh at Sipology isn’t on point here: “I think the people running Brown-Forman really just don’t care about enthusiasts. Buffalo Trace maybe cares too much.”

It’s certainly not price snobbery. I think Evan Williams at $9 is a solid bourbon and the $12 Very Old Barton (100 proof please) is a heck of a great one too. I certainly don’t need to be seen only quaffing rare Glendronachs or Pappys. I just care about what’s in the bottle.

Nope, this is all about the whiskey for me. And no matter how many variations I’ve tried, I just find that I cannot get into Woodford Reserve in any of its forms to save my life. It’s not for lack of trying, as you’re going to see. The profile is too strange with its occasional syrupy sweetness (different, of course, than the beautiful caramel sweetness of some whiskeys), marred by flashes of banana, marzipan and sometimes a little peanut flavor.

I said Woodford was a good thing. I think it’s an excellent gateway product to a better appreciation of bourbon. Most people have an initial encounter with bourbon in their young, “get drunk as cheap as possible” days. Bourbon certainly provides a hell of a value in that category. Over time though, and as the wallet gets a little fatter, some people start going upmarket and trying things that aren’t just paint stripper with caramel coloring. Others don’t, and they end up like some of my college friends who still see the 30 pack of Miller Lite as the apex of the beer drinking experience: enough to get you wasted but not enough to cut into your lotto and smokes budget.

For those who trade up, Woodford can be an a-ha moment. This stuff has taste! I can actually enjoy it! Suddenly paying $35 for a bottle of liquor doesn’t seem like it’s ridiculous because the value is there. Combine that with it being the house bourbon on some cooking shows, and it’s easy to see Woodford being in the vanguard of bourbons that show America that our local spirit can be worthy of standing in the company of high-quality food and drink.

However, I hope they make the jump to other bottles – Four Roses Single Barrel for instance – to see that not only can bourbon be good, it can be really, really good. Woodford just manages to fall short.

For a while, I thought it was the sweeter profile that wasn’t doing it for me. Generally I find really sweet bourbons to be good but never great. As I’ve gotten older I’ve found I like sweet flavors less and less. But Woodford, strictly speaking, isn’t “just a sweet bourbon”. Woodford’s nose is sweet, but has some rye spice on it and vanilla. It also has a marzipan note that dominates, but I find it becomes waxy in the glass after a while, and not in that great apple skin, old wood and wax way some whiskeys get. The palate is sweet but with a rye kick and some wood, comes in syrupy but goes strangely thin. It’s got the marzipan thickness, a little vanilla, a little toffee, and a flash of black cherries, but it’s just not particularly impressive. The finish goes sweeter – brown sugar and creme brûlée, and it lasts and lasts, but then it dries off strange and bitter. It’s not that kind of straightforward sweetness that I found in spades in BTSO 4 which I enjoyed but didn’t love.

Fair enough – this one just isn’t for me. But as I looked around, I found they had a bunch of premium-price, “small run” (15,000 bottles does kind of test that a bit for me) experiments released as the Master’s Collection. Well then – maybe I’d find my particular slice of heaven here. The Master’s comes out yearly, and has generally been a bourbon, though the last release was a pair of ryes. The one that was of immediate interest? Certainly it had to be the Seasoned Oak, which would right the wrongs of a sweet palate and bring a stronger oak note into the mix.

Seasoned Oak had immediate wood presence on the nose with rye; molasses and maple syrup rounded it out, and it smelled like it had a little more age and less youthful fire on it. The palate was syrupy as usual, and a bit sweet with some of the waxiness of Woodford. It also had toffee, brown sugar, molasses, and wood (which wasn’t overpowering), rye, and later on some cereal and grain notes. It finished big and strong like the regular Woodford, with apples and black cherry notes, but it had a strangely medicinal tang. There was some orange and cinnamon, but the wood caused it to dry pretty heavily. At the time I first opened it I thought this bottle was better than the standard Woodford, but the wood was definitely starting to push into being too overbearing. With several months in the bottle and some oxidation, I found it had gone firmly into the “too much wood” column unfortunately. Yet another reminder to enjoy those whiskies when they’re good.

Had Woodford not announced the Double Oaked line extension this spring, I would have posted this pan-Woodford discussion much sooner. However, the announcement stalled me until I could try it and see if, indeed, Woodford had heard the call for more wood and nailed it. For an additional $15, I was hoping they would, because $50 for a mediocre bourbon just pushed into depressing territory.

Double Oaked was hailed as being inspired by the Seasoned Oak, but its production differed. Seasoned Oak was standard Woodford finished in barrels that had been seasoned (left to dry and weather) outside for three to five years. Double Oaked changed this formula by “deeply toasting and then lightly charring” the wood for the finishing barrel. A slight change of recipe, then, but maybe it was a more cost-effective without sacrificing quality.

The nose led with a bouquet of spices – pepper and cinnamon and some allspice, as well as a lot of wood. There was darkness provided by black cherry that was on the cusp of being syrupy and artificial. The wood had moments of seeming green and popsicle-sticky but never quite went all the way. There was orange and vanilla present as well. The palate had a slightly charred character and a very strong wood presence, again with pepper and cinnamon. Light orange zest and heavy black cherries filled it out, but the wood presence was again right at the edge of being too bitter and too overpowering. The finish was black cherry and more oak – lots and lots of oak. It settled into a weird taste combination of tart, bitter and sweet.

Overall, it was noticeably different than Seasoned Oak, flirting openly with Woodford’s tendency to get too sweet. While I rate this the same as standard Woodford, I think I’d take Double Oaked given the choice.

While this was the latest Woodford bourbon I’ve tried, it certainly isn’t the whole story. The Master’s Collection has other profiles to look into, including ones that took the sweetness a step further. I will be exploring those and elaborate more on Woodford Reserve with those whiskeys in Part II.

At a glance:

Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select 45.2% ABV (Batch 532, Bottle 02688)
Nose: 
Very sweet. Rye is evident on the nose, as well as vanilla. There’s a low hint of marzipan and vanilla as well. Becomes waxy with a few minutes exposure to air.
Palate: 
Sweet, with wood evident and rye as well, initially syrupy and thick on the palate but then feels watery and starts to warm. The thicker marzipan style note is evident; a little vanilla, some very faint hints of toffee. There are early faint notes of black cherry but they tone down quickly.
Finish: 
Sweet again, more brown sugar/creme brulee type sweetness. Quite a big, lasting finish. It dries off strange and slightly bitter.
Comment: 
It’s fine but I don’t know that I’d go out of my way to recommend this to anyone. Kind of pushes the sweet and syrupy direction. The marzipan is fairly pronounced which gives it a weightier sweet flavor and I see how this is agreeable. However, this isn’t one that I think you’re worse off for not having tried.
Rating:  
C+

Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection Seasoned Oak Finish 50.2% ABV
Nose: 
Wood evident immediately, some rye on the nose. A bit of a prickle but not out of line with the ABV. Smells older. Light molasses and maple syrup notes.
Palate: 
Syrupy mouthfeel. A bit sweet on the palate, revealing some waxy notes, a hint of apple, some toffee, brown sugar, molasses, definite wood influence but not overpowering, some rye, warming slightly. Later notes of cereal and grain.
Finish: 
Big and strong, revealing more fruit notes – apples, black cherry. There’s something vaguely medicinal on the finish. Lasting. A flash of orange and cinnamon. Definite drying from the wood on the finish, where the wood notes are most prominent.
Comment: 
This is really not bad despite the Master’s Collection reviews. It’s certainly better than stock Woodford to me, favoring a darker, spicier profile than Woodford which is rather sweet to me. That said the wood does start to push into the “too much” territory and can be a very mood-driven choice.
Rating:
B-

Woodford Reserve Double Oaked 45% ABV
Nose: 
Pepper and cinnamon, a touch of allspice and a lot of wood. A black cherry darkness that is just on the right side of syrupy. The wood flirts slightly with becoming green and popsicle-sticky for a moment but doesn’t really go there. Some orange and a touch of vanilla. 
Palate: 
A lightly charred note, very strong wood presence. Pepper, light cinnamon. Some light orange and heavier black cherry presence. The wood is right up at the line of being bitter and too strong. 
Finish: 
Black cherry leads and is followed by oak. Lots and lots of oak. After a while this starts to sit on an uncomfortable triad of tart, bitter and sweet. 
Comment: 
It’s less aggressively woody than the Seasoned Oak, but the sweetness seems to almost get away from it a little too often. Somewhat better than regular Woodford.
Rating:
C+