Woodford Reserve

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Woodford Reserve
Woodford Reserve.jpg
TypeBourbon whiskey
ManufacturerBrown-Forman
Country of originKentucky, United States
Alcohol by volume45.20%
Proof90.4
Related productsBrown-Forman
 
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Woodford Reserve
Woodford Reserve.jpg
TypeBourbon whiskey
ManufacturerBrown-Forman
Country of originKentucky, United States
Alcohol by volume45.20%
Proof90.4
Related productsBrown-Forman

Woodford Reserve is a brand of premium small batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey produced by the Brown-Forman Corporation. It is distilled at the company's Woodford Reserve Distillery, and marketed under the former company name for the distillery, Labrot & Graham. The distillery is located in Woodford County, in central Kentucky. Formerly known as Labrot & Graham's Old Oscar Pepper Distillery, the distillery is approximately eight miles from the town of Versailles off U.S. Route 60, between Interstate 64 and Versailles. Each bottle is numbered with a batch number and bottle number. Woodford Reserve's alcohol concentration is 45.2% alcohol by volume (90.4 US Proof). No age statement is listed on the bottle.

Contents

History

Distilling on the site began in 1797[1] and the distillery building itself was erected in 1838, making it the oldest of the nine bourbon distilleries in current operation in Kentucky as of 2010 – although the site has not been continuously operational as a distillery during that history. In 1995 the distillery was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and in 2000 it was designated a National Historic Landmark.

Originally established by Elijah Pepper, the distillery was passed on to his son and was known as the Oscar Pepper Distillery when Dr. James Crow worked there in the mid-19th century. During this time Dr. Crow went about a series of activities that improved[citation needed] and codified the understanding of, and quality of, key bourbon-making processes such as sour-mash fermentation, pot still distillation and barrel maturation. Ultimately, the Pepper family sold the property to Leopold Labrot and James Graham in 1878, who owned and operated it (except during Prohibition) until 1941 when it was sold to the Brown-Forman Corporation. B-F operated it until 1968 and then sold the then-mothballed property in 1971. Brown-Forman then re-purchased the property in 1993 and refurbished it to bring it back into operation. The Woodford Reserve brand was introduced to the market in 1996. Since premium bourbon is aged for several years prior to sale, it is likely that the early bottlings of Woodford Reserve had been distilled at some other facility.

Among the expressions of bottlings branded as Woodford Reserve are two variations called the Masters Collection, which are produced using the older pot still distillation method rather than modern column still technology.[2]

Limited Edition Collector's Sets

Woodford Reserve Master's Collection

In 2005, the company released the first bottling in its series called Woodford Reserve Master's Collection. One expression in the collection series is released every year (usually around November), with limited quantities and locations.

YearInformationProof % ABV
2005Four Grain Batch #192.446.2
2006Four Grain Batch #292.446.2
2007Sonoma Cutrer Finish86.443.2
2008Sweet Mash 183886.443.2
2009Seasoned Oak Finish100.450.2
2010Maple Wood Finish9447.2
2011Aged Cask Rye92.446.2
2011New Cask Rye92.446.2

Commemorative Bottles

The company also releases commemorative Woodford Reserve bottlings annually for the Kentucky Derby and the Breeder's Cup.

Reviews and Accolades

International Spirit ratings organizations and liquor review bodies have generally given Woodford Reserve solid scores. At the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, Woodford Reserve's best performance was in 2005, when it won a double gold medal, and it has since won gold (2006–2007) and silver medals at this annual event (2008, 2010). The Beverage Testing Institute has given the Reserve a score of 90 and Wine Enthusiast awarded it a 90-95 point rating.[3] Spirits ratings aggregator proof66.com, which averages scores from the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, Wine Enthusiast, the Beverage Testing Institute, and others, ranks Woodford Reserve in its highest ("Tier 1") scoring category.[4]

Marketing activities

The Woodford Reserve Distillery offers tours and is part of the American Whiskey Trail and the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.

In a contract arrangement with Churchill Downs, Brown-Forman has purchased the rights to declare Woodford Reserve to be the "Official Bourbon" of the Kentucky Derby and to be the bourbon used in the $1,000 special premium Mint Julep served at the event. However, it is the Brown-Forman sister brand Early Times that is used in the lower-priced Mint Juleps that are sold as the "Official Drink" of the Kentucky Derby.

See also

References

  1. ^ Woodford Reserve web page, Kentucky Distillers Association.
  2. ^ Pot Stills Versus Column Stills, The Chuck Cowdery Blog: American Whiskey & Other Stuff, February 26, 2008. (Access date March 3, 2011.)
  3. ^ "Proof66.com's Summary Page for Woodford Reserve". http://www.proof66.com/single_display.asp?id=586. Retrieved 2010-10-16. 
  4. ^ "Proof66.com Whiskey Page". http://www.proof66.com/display.asp?t=whiskey. Retrieved 2011-05-23. 

External links