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Woodford Reserve Rye

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@OdysseusUnboundReview by @OdysseusUnbound

10th Jun 2020


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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I have been slacking with my reviews lately, so I'll post what may be the shortest review I've ever written. I bought my bottle of Woodford Reserve Rye mostly for mixing classic cocktails like the Vieux Carré and the Manhattan. I did sip it neat a few times, however, just to get some tasting notes as a stand-alone sipper. From what I can find online, Woodford Reserve Rye is made from a "pre-prohibition" style mashbill of 53% rye, 14% malted barley and 33% corn "to pay homage to history’s original rye whiskeys".

Tasting Notes

  • Nose: toffee, vanilla, pepper, clove, caraway
  • Palate: light bodied, sweet on arrival, more toffee, a bit of banana, some black pepper, cloves and rye bread
  • Finish: short to medium length, with a touch of rye spices, a bit of mint, some brown sugar and oak lingering

The rye spice is pretty subdued in this one. Its flavour is closer to a high-rye bourbon than to what I typically associate with rye. It's a little piquant, not a spicy slap in the face. It works well in a cocktail, where it doesn't dominate any of the other ingredients but doesn't get overpowered either. As a neat sipper it leaves a little to be desired. There was nothing wrong with it, per se, but I didn't crave it as a "thoughtful sipper".

  • Would I accept a glass if someone offered me one? Sure.
  • Would I order this in a bar or pub? Not unless it was in a cocktail
  • Would I buy another bottle? Unlikely. I like my ryes bolder and spicier than this one. It would be a good start for someone who is just getting into rye.

Related Woodford Reserve reviews


RianC commented

@OdysseusUnbound - interesting that you describe this as more bourbon than rye. I picked up a bottle on sale for £25 a while back but am yet to open it. I like a spicy, full-on rye too but after tasting Pikesville (which has a similar lower rye content, I believe) I think there's room for both styles grin

And on the subject of cocktails ... I may have to open it quite soon as I recently discovered my better half has been emptying my Bulleit 10 at an alarming rate to use in her Old Fashioneds!

11 months ago 1Who liked this?

OdysseusUnbound commented

@RianC This Woodford works better in a Manhattan than in an Old Fashioned to my palate, but it might be worth a go nonetheless. I actually found more rye spice in Four Roses Small Batch than I did in this Woodford rye.

11 months ago 1Who liked this?

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