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With my new found interest in bourbon, I decided that I’d grab a miniature bottle from my local booze peddler. Bourbon is not popular here in Taiwan. In fact, most shops don’t carry anything more than standard Jim Beam or Jack Daniels offerings. When I got to the store, I realized that I had literally tried all of the bourbon minis he had in stock, save one. I hadn’t heard of Woodford Reserve before, so I figured I’d give it a go. Here’s my take on it…
Nose: A particularly sweet nose on this one. Butterscotch, spearmint, cinnamon, black pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, roasted honey, and treacle. Some of the notes here, such as red apples, pears, overripe bananas, and spice, almost remind me of a sherry-matured scotch. The wisps of oak are quite musty, like a dusty, old, dry rocking chair that’s been sitting in an attic for a few decades. In a good way. Quite a nice nose overall.
Palate: The nose was quite sweet, but the palate is surprisingly bitter and spicy. Mouthfeel is quite thin for a bourbon. Even with a couple drops of water there’s some spicy tang to this. Tangerine, burnt vanilla, bitter dark chocolate, maple, and singed Christmas cake.
Finish: Medium finish. The spice lingers for a while. Musty oak. Spearmint and maple give this a lovely sweetness. In contrast, orange rind and bitter espresso offer a tart counterbalance. Good stuff.
I like this, but it’s not perfect. There are some lovely flavours in here, but it’s not the most balanced bourbon offering to be had. It jumps back and forth from sweet to bitter quite dramatically. Also, I usually prefer a thicker, richer mouthfeel. On a positive note, the nose here is particularly pleasant. I also like how the oak is presented. The spiciness is at times pleasant, and at times a bit rough around the edges. Never overly so. I’m used to spiciness in scotches, but it’s rarely this pronounced in a bourbon. While it may not win any awards for balance or smoothness, there is no doubt that this offers quite a rich and tangy flavour profile that is quite pleasant overall.