Labrot & Graham – Woodford Reserve – Distiller’s Select – 89-100

Price – 750 ml – $32 – ( )

Method –  two ice cubes in three fingers

Rating – 89100

Review –

Woodford Reserve is well known as a different kind of bourbon.  It was definitely the first bourbon that really turned my head as far as taste is concerned, and that’s not to say that other bourbons hadn’t crossed my path with great relish, but the taste of this bourbon will leave you scratching your head a bit at first.  But I’ll get to that in a sec.

The bottle is probably one of my least favorite whiskey bottles on my shelf.  It’s really wide and shallow so it doesnt fit well anywhere, and it’s always in the way when I want one of the bottles behind it (which is actually the place I keep my bottle of Angel’s Envy since its a taller bottle).  However, despite the bad shaping, it displays the whiskey well.  It lets enough light through to make the spirit look beautiful in the light, and shine almost golden.  Now on to the good stuff.

The smell of this whiskey will immediately let you know that this is going to be a bit of a different ride.  I get a bit of anise and orange, the spiced oranges that I’ve had at the holidays, as well as a heavy afterthought of molasses.  On the nose this whiskey is beautiful.

On the Palate its not much less.  The first hit you get is dizzying if you’re used to drinking other bourbons, heavy hits of oak and leather wash through your mouth immediately and that musky leather taste is so off-putting that I hated my first glass (of course after going through that first bottle I loved it, and furthermore, that experience solidified my choice to buy a full bottle of anything I wanted to try so as to give myself some time to get used to a new flavor).  A quick sip will let this whiskey pass right on by without much but a short and leathery finish, but let this dram sit in your mouth for a bit, and the mouth feel will pay dividends.  Its warm, but not the stinging heat you get with some 90+ proof bourbons.   Over ice it has a lightly oily texture that pulls you through to the finish beautifully.  Now the finish has a few stages and in the end is the reason why this whiskey didn’t break the 90+ rating mark for me.  At first its beautiful, with heavy molasses and anise notes, followed by another sweeping set of leather notes, and followed by a beautiful oak flavor that makes my mouth water every time.  However, if you let it go on for a little more past there, the finish turns bitter and unpleasant for me.  Almost a metallic aftertaste that only makes me want to get more of the whiskey into my mouth.  Of course by the 2nd glass you don’t really notice this and this whiskey is smoother than silk.  And when I say that it is smooth, I mean it.  With little to no burn, and a mellow swallow that will leave you unafraid to take a big mouthful of this bourbon, smooth is where this dram really shines.

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3 responses to “Labrot & Graham – Woodford Reserve – Distiller’s Select – 89-100

  • G-LO

    I have always enjoyed the Woodford Reserve. Quite an elegant whisky. Once again, great review!


  • Chuck

    Thanks a lot G-Lo. As my only regular reader/commenter, thanks for the support ;). But yeah, I really do like Woodford on occasion, the latter have of the finish really hurts this whiskey for me though. The everything else is beautiful, but I have to have water after I’m finished or I hate it. Now with Angel’s Envy in close proximity price-wise, I hardly think there’s any competition.

    • G-LO

      No need for the thank you. Commenting is fun when you’re actually adding to the discussion, which is what I try to do.

      I wonder if I can pick up a sample of the Woodford to see if I get this finish effect as well. And as far as Angel’s Envy, as I said before, I’ll be sure to pick up a bottle once I “thin the herd”, i.e. empty a few bottles. It sounds wonderful!

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